Information Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo says Kenya is on its track to manufacturing mobile phones under the ambitious multi-million-shilling Konza Techno-polis plan in Malili, Machakos County.

As the fate of Konza, which was touted as Africa’s Silicon Savanah ahead of its launch in January 2013, remains unclear ten years later, the CS says the infrastructure is already in place and that local telecoms will be among the first firms to set camp this year.

“The telecoms have realised that in the near future, Kenya must become a manufacturer of phones and cheap technology as opposed to a chief importer, so we are going to start manufacturing, the technology is already there and we are going to roll out this initiative by July,” Owalo said on Tuesday.

Speaking to journalists the CS noted that they are also looking at software manufacturing, although he did not disclose the major players who will be involved in the sector alongside the local telecommunications providers.

“The infrastructure is already there. The telecom companies will set up their operations there, they are not just going to manufacture telephone equipment, but we are going to start manufacturing ICT software as a country,” said Owalo.

“In the not-too-distant future, Kenya will be a net exporter of technology,” he added.

The first batch of Made-in-Kenya phones, according to the ICT CS, should hit the market latest August, retailing at around 40 US dollars, which should be between Ksh.4,000 and Ksh.5,000.

“We will not only be able to meet the demands in the local market, we will also have surplus for export,” the CS added.

“The feasibility study has already been done and the market demand has been ascertained, the envisaged cost of production and the profits for the telecoms have also been ascertained.”

With Konza City, the Kenyan government led by then-president Uhuru Kenyatta wanted to replicate Silicon Valley in the United States.

The techno-polis is planned to be a city offering both tax exemptions and holidays to investors towards making the country one of the few global ICT zones in the continent.


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