Kenyans in diaspora are building a university town which will create 20,000 jobs

The group has already identified a 1,500-acre land out of the 3,000 acres needed for the establishment of the university.

  • Kenyans in the diaspora have joined hands together to construct a diaspora university town in Taita Taveta County.
  • The proposed university is expected to not only provide education and conduct research but to transform the lives of thousands by creating jobs and promoting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
  • According to the planners, six categories of jobs are expected to be created; university jobs, town, design-build, medical hospital, tourism and SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) jobs as a result of the development.
  • Taita Taveta County Assembly has already approved the Sh100 billion diaspora university town development plan.

Kenyans in the diaspora have joined hands together to construct a diaspora university town in Taita Taveta County.

Taita Taveta County Assembly has already approved the Sh100 billion diaspora university town development plan, which borrows from university towns in the US and targets to create 500 new SMEs and 20,000 jobs in five years.

“The university town model is not new. Amherst Town in Massachusetts that President Uhuru Kenyatta studied at and where one of our founders, Prof Philliph Mutisya of North Carolina Central University went to, is a university town,” says Mr Dan Kamau who heads the site development office in Voi.

The group has already identified a 1,500-acre land out of the 3,000 acres needed for the establishment of the university.

The proposed university is expected to not only provide education and conduct research but to transform the lives of thousands by creating jobs and promoting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

“The approved plan is for a university that can accommodate 30,000 students and 90,000 residents on 3,000 acres of land,” said Mr. Kamau.

SMEs are to have a piece of the immense project by being awarded tenders to supply materials.

Besides the contracts to supply raw materials and render an assortment of services, entrepreneurs will also benefit immensely from transfer of skills and experiences as they undertake the project.

“The move by the diaspora to create jobs is good for the young people. My community is happy to be part of the project.” Said Ndara B community chairman Benjamin Mwandaa, whose community is to benefit from the job creations.

According to the planners, six categories of jobs are expected to be created; university jobs, town, design-build, medical hospital, tourism and SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) jobs as a result of the development.

About 80 percent of the locals aged between 18 years and 35 years have expressed interest for the jobs, according to the community chairman.

Mr Kamau explains that the university model is based on Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), a private research university in Massachusetts, project-based learning approach which brings together SMEs, education investors as well as property developers, town planners and designers, among other players.

“We call it university town because the ratio of students to residents will be one student to three residents,” Mr Kamau said.

WPI Professors Arthur Gerstenfeld (Retired) and the late Prof Raphael Njoroge mooted the idea for the university development and the second alternative idea was a housing development using diaspora capital started by Kenyans in diaspora.

“The two ideas would become development plans and later merge through to become a university town development plan,” Mr Kamau said.

Thereafter the system would become the Kenya University Project (KUP) system once adjusted to incorporate the Constitution.”

Taita Taveta County is enthusiastic about the project and hopes it will go a long way in changing the economic fortunes of its population through the expansion of employment opportunities and affording small firms a golden chance to participate in the project.

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