KAIST will participate in Kenya’s strategic economic development plan under the provision of a turnkey-based science and technology education consultancy for the establishment of the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kenya KAIST).
KAIST signed the contract on November 30 with the Konza Technopolis Development Authority to establish Kenya KAIST. Korea Eximbank will offer a 95 million USD loan to the Kenyan government for this project.
The project will include the educational and architectural design and construction of Kenya KAIST. The campus will be constructed in the Konza Techno City nearby Nairobi by 2021, with the first batch of 200 graduate students starting classes in 2022. KAIST, in consortium with Samwoo and Sunjin architecture and engineering companies, will take the lead of the three-year project, with the kick-off ceremony planned at the end of next January in Nairobi.
The Kenyan government plans to transform Kenya into a middle-income country under Vision 2030 through promoting science, technology, and innovation for national economic growth. Nicknamed Africa’s Silicon Savannah, Konza Techno City is a strategic science and technology hub to realize this vision. To this end, the medium-term plan set a goal to provide specialized research and training in various leading-edge engineering and advanced science fields.
In the two-phase evaluation of the consultancy bidding, KAIST won preferred bidder status in the technical proposal evaluation, outbidding three other Korean consortia. Invited to the financial proposal bidding, the KAIST consortium successfully completed month-long contract negotiations with Kenya last week.
KAIST will develop academic curricula for six initial departments (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical/Electronic Engineering, ICT Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Agricultural Biotechnology), which will lay the ground work for engineering research and education in Kenya to meet emerging socioeconomic demands. In addition, KAIST will provide the education of basic sciences of math, physics, chemistry, and biology for students.
It is also notable that the Kenyan government asked to develop an industry-academy cooperation program in Konza Techno City. It reflects the growing industrial needs of Kenya KAIST, which will be located in the center of the Konza Technopolis. It is anticipated that the technopolis will create 16,675 jobs in the medium term and over 200,000 after completion, positioning Kenya as an ICT hub within the region.
KAIST also shares a similar history of establishment with Kenya KAIST, as it will be built with a foreign loan. KAIST, created by the Korean government in 1971 to drive the economic engine through advancement of science and technology with a six-million USD loan from USAID, has now become a donor institution that hands down science and technology education systems including the construction of campuses to underdeveloped countries.
The successful case of KAIST has been benchmarked by many countries for years. For instance, KAIST set up the curriculum of the nuclear engineering program at the Khalifa University of Science and Technology in UAE in 2010. In China, Chongqing University of Technology is running its electrical engineering and computer science programs based on the educational systems and curricula offered by KAIST from 2015. In October, KAIST also signed an MOU with the Prince Mohammad Bin Salman College of Cyber Security, AI, and Advanced Technologies in Saudi Arabia to provide the undergraduate program for robotics.
Among all these programs benchmarking KAIST, Kenya KAIST clearly stands out, for it is carrying out a turnkey-based project that encompasses every aspect of institution building ranging from educational curriculum development to campus construction and supervision.
President Sung-Chul Shin is extremely excited about finalizing the deal, remarking, “It is of great significance that KAIST’s successful development model has carved out a unique path to becoming a global leading university that will benefit other countries. In only a half century, we have transitioned from a receiver to a donor institution, as the country itself has done.”
“KAIST will spare no effort for Kenya KAIST to become a successful science and technology university that will play a crucial role in Kenya’s national development. I believe Kenya KAIST will be an exemplary case of an ODA (Official Development Assistance) project based on the development of science and technology to benefit underdeveloped countries,” he added.