Yesterday the Kenyan government through the ministry of education signed a memorandum of understanding with South Korea towards the development of a graduate university at the Konza Technopolis.

The graduate university will be named “Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology” (KAIST) and will be modelled on the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). It is expected to be Kenya’s first advanced science and technology institute. The project came into being when the Kenyan government signed a Ksh. 9.5 Billion loan with the Korean Exim Bank in 2017 to fund the construction of the university.

Thereafter, Konza Technopolis Development Agency (KOTDA) invited bids for setting up of the university and the Korean KAIST came out as the successful bidders for the turnkey-based education consultancy. Samwoo and Sunjin architecture and engineering companies also emerged as successful bidders for the construction of the university. The contracts for the development of the university were signed by KOTDA in November last year.

Interestingly, KAIST was founded through a USD 6 Million loan from USAID in 1971. This formed the basis of the transformation of the Korean economy from being agricultural based to being industrialized. This is because the university provided the necessary manpower that was needed for industrialization.

With the coming into being of the university, the government hopes that it will have a positive impact towards the attainment of Vision 2030. Whereby the government wants to transform Kenya into a middle-income country through the promotion of science, technology and innovation for national economic growth. To this end, the medium-term plan is to provide specialized research and training in various cutting-edge engineering and advanced science fields. The university is expected to admit its first batch of 200 graduate students in 36 months.