The Kenyan and Korean Governments have signed a contract worth KSh 9.4 billion towards the establishment of the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).
According to the Principal Secretary State Department for University Education and Research Amb. Simon Nabukwesi the institution will be the first top science and technology university in the region and it is expected to be completed within two years.
The university, to be constructed at the KONZA Technopolis, will comprise of ten research science labs that will enlist the services of specialized local and international researchers in science, technology, and engineering.
“We want our KAIST to be a replica of the Korean one if not better and it will also be a center of innovation for employment creation opportunities and further development as a country,” The PS said during the signing of the contract.
Amb. Nabukwesi added that the establishment of KAIST is aimed at providing specialized research and training in various cutting-edge engineering technologies and advanced science fields to help the country fast-track its modernization agenda.
The campus will be constructed on 36 acres of land and it is expected that the first batch of students will start their classes in 2022. The institution has also been earmarked to develop academic curricula for six initial departments (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.
In addition, the state department of university education says KAIST will provide education in the basic science areas of math, physics, chemistry, and biology for students.
Principal Secretary ICT and Innovation Jerome Ochieng who was also present during the event, reiterated the Government’s commitment towards 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, Director, BOMI E&C Consortium who have been awarded the contract, said that the partnership through Kenya-KAIST will herald a new beginning to Kenya even as he promised to work within set timelines in the construction of the institution.
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. To this end, the medium-term plan set a goal to provide specialized research and training in various cutting-edge engineering and advanced science fields.
It is anticipated that the technopolis will create 16,675 jobs in the medium term and over 200,000. It is projected that the kickoff of Kenya-KAIST will drive economic growth through advanced science and technology. The project’s groundbreaking ceremony has been slated to take place later in the year.
Also present during the signing ceremony was Eng. John Tanui, CEO Konza Technopolis Development Authority.