President Uhuru Kenyatta on the 26th of April presided over the launch of a nanotechnology and semiconductor manufacturing factory in Nyeri County, central Kenya. The president reiterated the importance of public-private partnerships in advancing the government’s manufacturing pillar of the Big four Agenda.
The company produces integrated circuits, sensors, and related nanotechnology products for the world market. The nanotechnology and semiconductor manufacturing facility was established by Semiconductor Technologies Limited (STL) on the 177-acre Dedan Kimathi University of Technology’s Science and Technology Park.
The Kenya Engineer team caught up with Prof. Ndirangu Kioni, the Vice Chancellor of Dedan Kimathi University of Technology for a chat on the University’s Science and Technology park and the semiconductor plant.
On the University’s Science and Technology park…
The Dedan Kimathi science and technology park is sponsored by the ministry of Education, it is the first of its kind and has three focus area; The first is value addition to materials which encompasses design and manufacturing, The second is to leverage ICT Technology and the third is application of technology for food production
The Science park creates a platform for various stakeholders to collaborate and accelerate development of products.
On the semiconductor plant and What exactly this development means for the country.
It means we will see Acceleration of product development. It exploits the first focus area of the science and technology park. So we will see localization of manufacturing in line with government policy so as well this points at localizing consumption, we wont be producing just for export 100%.
It also means we will try to meet local demand for computers, increase automation and enter into the new market of smart devices.
At what point do we see mass production from the plant?
We are in the final stages of prototyping and mass production should start within the year.
Investment and partnership that made it happen
The monetary investment is Upwards of USD 10 Million but I’d say we don’t look at the figure but rather the value. The Ecosystem for this project is kenya. We have partnered with other universities and this is important because of the intensive need for human resources. In total we have partnered with 10 universities. We have also partnered with four ministries namely ICT, Industrialization, Finance and Education. We have also partnered with the Kenya Bureau of Standards and a number of other companies.
We have students from engineering and chemistry all get opportunities. To support that we have provided 20 scholarships for students from these areas.
What else do we expect from DeKuT as part of the Science and Technology Park?
Well we have the Digital media city in partnership with ICT ministry and the DeKUT & KFC film and animation hub in partnership with the kenya film commission. We have 30 graduates employed to work on this. We are also in partnership with various dairy companies under the Bioresource focus point.