Close your eyes and imagine a city built for technology. It is a city that will help spur economic development for an entire region, and serves as a exemplar for tourism, manufacturing, IT, and financial service companies. There’s ample mass transit, fiber optic speeds for data, partnerships with academic institutions and real estate developers, and is located near other large cities and airports. Sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, doesn’t it? Well by 2030, this will be a reality in Africa.
Malili is a proposed 5,000 acre “technopolis” located 60km near Nairobi, Kenya. The city will create a regional brand for telecommunications, as well as grow the country’s IT contribution to their GDP. Malili will include a convention center, hotels, shopping facilities, academic institutions, health facilities, and more, according to Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary in The Ministry for Information and Communications. Since his appointment, Ndemo has been concerned with the spirit of entrepreneurship in the region. Malili will follow similar “smart villages” created in Malaysia (Putrajaya) and China (Shenzhen). Smart Village Cairo, another comparison model, has 120 companies and 20,000 local and expatriate technology professionals in their city, and expects to expand more by 2011.
According to WhiteAfrican.com, Malili is a large government project that also has private sector participation – a combination which has not had the best track record for completed projects. This is an extremely ambitions move on the Kenyan government’s part. Time will tell whether or not this will fully come to fruition, but this is a great project for the country and the continent.