The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has sealed a deal with the Kenya Government that will see the launch and construction of an equivalent institution called Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). The project will be constructed in Konza, the technology city that’s near 70 kilometres from Nairobi. The establishment of the research institution, which is said to cost the state KES 10 billion (USD 95 billion) was signed in a fair held at Konza and received further officiating at the University of Nairobi (UoN) earlier today.
The campus at Konza Technopolis is predicted to start operations in 2022 and admit 330 students during Phase 1. Furthermore, the construction project, which is already underway, will be performed by Korean engineering and architecture companies (Samwoo and Sunjin). It is worth noting that the contract for the project was signed in November 2018, and yesterday’s event marked the kick off of the same.
KAIST in Kenya aligns to the aims of Vision 2030 that purpose to transform the state into a middle-income economy that takes advantage of the offerings of science, technology, and innovation. At the same time, KAIST in Kenya looks forward to spurring national economic growth by emphasizing the need for research and development. Korea’s KAIST has, for instance, grown so much since its inception in 1971 and has enabled the Asian country to be one of the institutions that produce the highest number of research and scholarly publications, as well as patented works. On the other hand, Kenya’s performance in the field is below par at best, and the establishment of Konza’s KAIST aims to address the shortcomings by pursuing leading-edge engineering, and advanced science works.
Lastly, KAIST will develop several engineering disciplines in the institution, with six departments in Phase 1 (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical/Electronic Engineering, ICT Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Agricultural Biotechnology). The programs will serve as a foundation for engineering research and education in Kenya as it transitions to a middle-income state. The second phase will admit 880 students.
“The adoption of the Korea-KAIST model is deliberate. We want to build a nurturing environment for graduate students not only in Kenya but also in East Africa, that will see an innovative growth, rallied by science, in the region. A highly-educated nation is paramount to its economic, social and political success, it is, therefore, our hope that this new venture will be embraced by the people of Kenya,” said Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) Chairman Reuben Mutiso.