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Kenya breaks ground on new tech city

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It will take an estimated 20 years to build, but a new city built from scratch in Kenya is already being dubbed "Africa's Silicon Savannah."

Construction began this week on the $14.5 billion Konza Technology City -- about 37 miles from Nairobi --  that is expected to attract around 200,000 IT jobs, BBC reports:

"It is expected to spur massive trade and investment as well as create thousands of employment opportunities for young Kenyans in the ICT [information communications technology] sector," President Mwai Kibaki said at the ceremony to launch the construction, adding it would be a "game-changer" for the country's development.

The nearly 5,000 acre city hopes to attract business process outsourcing, software development, data centers, disaster recovery centers, call centers and light assembly manufacturing industries.

As Business Daily Africa reports, investors are already coming from far and wide to fund the project:

The Director-General of Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, Mugo Kibati, said investors had responded positively to Konza which many attribute to the buzz created by innovation like Safaricom’s M-Pesa money transfer system on the global stage.

“Very many investors are interested but the ground breaking ceremony and the launching of the master plan will help a lot. We have investors from Asia, Europe and America expressing interest,” said Mr Kibati.

Asian investors, especially from China, were mainly interested in construction while their European and American counterparts were more interested in the data processing business.

Already, the paper reports, land around the future city has skyrocketed from a little over $1,100 per acre to nearly $35,000 per acre.

[Via BBC and Business Daily Africa]

— By on January 23, 2013, 2:50 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure