Are tech cities Africa’s next big thing?

BIG, bold and thinking out of the box!

One is dubbed ‘Africa’s Silicon Savannah’, taking a cue, of course, from the Silicon Valley high-tech industry on the west coast of the USA. And the other is still in the form of a plot of land acquired by the
Ghanaian tech-businessman, Roland Agambire, already being referred as ‘Hope City’. I call them Africa’s next big idea. By way of generalization, I should add, when it comes to science and technology,
this type of thinking – ambitious, risk-taking and out of the box – is uncharted territory for Africa.

Africa’s Silicon Savanna is (about 60km southeast of the Kenyan capital Nairobi) a US$14.5bn mega project to build the Konza Techno City and was officially launched by President Mwai Kibaki at a
groundbreaking ceremony on 23 January 2013. The mission of Konza Techno project is to serve as a world-class IT hub with the goal of creating 100,000 jobs by 2030.

Hope City

On the other end of Africa, construction work on Ghana’s ‘Hope city’ is reportedly expected to begin next month. Estimated to cost US$10 billion, the ‘Hope City’ techno park will include a tech assembly plant
for various products, business offices, an IT university, a hospital, housing and recreation spaces, restaurants, theatres and sports centres. This ambitious project is also expected to boost Ghana’s technology growth, attract world-class IT industry players, house 25,000 residents, and create jobs for 50,000 people. Apparently, the technology park’s architectural structure also incorporates and honours Ghana’s culture and customs in its design such as the traditional compound structures.

For a starter, the impact of what is referred today as the ‘Silicon Valley’ industry on our lives is everywhere. You may not know it, but Silicon Valley touched your life in one or another way: Perhaps through the app on your mobile phone; the electricity and energy utility; the computer you are using at work; the TV you are watching at home or the car you are driving. And even your Facebook page (or ‘bookface’ as it is sometimes referred to in Namibia).

Geographically, Silicon Valley, which springs outward from Stanford University, traverses San Francisco, California, and the peninsula area. Today, Silicon Valley continues to be an economic boom for the world’s
largest and profitable technology corporations, such as Apple, HP, Intel, Google, Cisco systems, Facebook, Yahoo… (and small start ups too)!

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