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Kenya, Korea foster strategic pact to hasten investments in smart cities

The Ministry of ICT and Digital Economy in collaboration with Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) has announced strategic partnerships aimed at accelerating digital and infrastructural development within selected areas in the country.

The partnership themed ‘Investing in Smart cities’ seeks to strengthen bilateral relations and forge cooperation between Kenya and Korea through signing of  Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) to construct more than 5000 affordable houses.

State Department of ICT and Digital Economy Principal Secretary (PS) Eng. John Tanui said that the government is focused on creating an enabling environment for innovation and emerging technologies as well as being conscious of impacts caused to attain sustainable infrastructure.

“We have placed various legal and regulatory frameworks in place to spur Kenya’s economy such as National ICT policy, Digital Economy Blue print, National ICT Master Plan 2022/23, National Cyber Security Strategy 2022, Computer Misuse, Cybercrimes Act 2018 and Data Protection and Privacy Act 2019,” remarked Tanui.

Speaking during the conference on Monday, Tanui mentioned challenges like urbanization, population growth, climate change and Covid-19 pandemic as major factors straining the economic structure which is a building block citing that there’s need  to combine efforts as a country to embrace technology in sustainable infrastructure amidst our urban areas.

The PS noted that as government they play a critical role in promoting the use of emerging technologies to achieve the sustainable development goals as stated by the United Nations.

“Smart city is a technology infused modern urban area that uses different types of electronic methods and sensors to collect and deliver resourceful data,” voiced Tanui.

The Engineer said that certain urban and rural centers will benefit immensely from the collaboration such as Naivasha, Athi River, Dongo Kundu, Lamu, and Sagana noting that they are great locations providing excellent research institutions, accommodation, and technology as smart cities.

The PS said that the smart cities would offer solutions to the country by reducing energy challenges by building Internet of Things (IoT) to empower ecosystems and enhance new technologies for batteries and hydro so as to generate the industrial agenda.

Tanui reiterated that the ongoing housing agenda is not just for accommodation purposes, explaining that the government is comprehensively thinking of people’s needs in terms of education and working environs in efforts to help them achieve their dreams.

He added that an average age of about 20 million young people are currently living in urban areas pursuing their degrees or completed universities while preparing for their accommodation adding that the type of urbanization built as a country and continent would prevent the upsurge of slums and create employment opportunities.

Tanui stated that his ministry is working towards incorporating 100,000km of fiber optic cables to the lowest unit of 1,450 watts to the digital village hub with over 25,000 connections in public places such as bus stops and markets at the regional levels to tap potential in the digital economy.

KOTRA’s Nairobi Managing Director (MD) Ikhyun Eom said that KOTRA is dedicated to fostering and facilitating mutual growth and Trade Bridge between both nations and their respective governments.

“We firmly believe that investing in smart cities initiatives not only enhances the quality of life of citizens but also presents a fertile ground for economic growth and job creation and one of KOTRA’s primary objectives is to enhance Kenya’s participation in the construction sector, particularly in the realm of smart cities,” said Eom.

By Phinta Amondi

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