Kenya, South Korea sign Sh9.4bn Konza University deal

What you need to know:

  • The university will be the first top science and technology university in the region.
  • The university will be modelled on the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

Kenya and South Korea have signed an agreement that will see the Asian nation contribute Sh9.4 billion towards the establishment of the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and technology (Kaist) to be constructed at the Konza technopolis.

University Education Principal Secretary Simon Nabukwesi, said the university will be the first top science and technology university in the region. 

It is expected to provide specialized research and training in various leading edge engineering technologies and advanced science fields to help the country proceed with fast track modernization.

“We want our Kaist to be a replica of the Korean one if not better and it will also be a centre of innovation for employment creation opportunities and further development as a country,” Mr Nabukwesi said during the contract signing ceremony.

The university will be modelled on the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, the first and top science and technology university in Korea which emphasises on specialised training.

Kaist is expected to be completed by 2023 and will comprise of 10 research science labs working with specialised local and international researchers in science, technology and engineering.

Vision 2030 flagship project

The campus will be constructed on 36 acres of land in the Konza Techno City located in Machakos County, with the first batch of students starting classes in 2023.

Kaist will develop academic curricula for six initial departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical/Electronic Engineering, ICT Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Agricultural Biotechnology, which will lay the groundwork for engineering research and education in Kenya.

The university is a Vision 2030 flagship project and is in line with the recently shifted focus to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) courses in institutions of higher learning in the quest to create a large pool of specialists to industrialise the economy by 2030.

ICT and Innovation Principal Secretary Jerome Ochieng, who was also present during the event, reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring completion of the project within the stipulated time noting that it was one of the major components of Konza technopolis.

The Kaist delegation, led by Mr Jung Hoon Seo, the director of Bomi Engineering and Construction company who have been awarded the contract, said the partnership between Kenya and Kaist will usher a new future for Kenya and they will ensure the construction of the institution is completed within the given timeline.

The Kenyan government plans to transform Kenya into a middle-income country under Vision 2030 through the promotion of science, technology, and innovation for national economic growth. Nicknamed Africa's Silicon Savannah, Konza Techno City is a strategic science and technology hub constructed to realize this vision.

It is anticipated that Kaist will drive economic growth through advanced science and technology. The project's ground breaking ceremony is expected to take place later in the year.

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