Explainer: Interesting details about KICC as building lined up for sale

It was designed to be a symbol of unity, progress, and global connectivity

In Summary
  • The construction was undertaken by contractors Solel Boneh & Factah.
  • It is ranked as one of the top places to hold conferences on the continent.
An electronic sign at the entrance of KICC. Photo/File
An electronic sign at the entrance of KICC. Photo/File
Image: FILE

In the heart of the busy Nairobi City, where towering buildings reach for the sky and dreams are forged from concrete, steel and glass, lies an architectural marvel—Kenyatta International Convention Centre(KICC).

Set against a backdrop of rich history, KICC formerly Kenyatta International Conference Centre stands as a beacon of innovation and elegance, inviting the world to witness the beauty and possibilities of the country.

KICC has been listed among 10 other state-run entities that will be handed over to private operators in the state privatisation programme.

The 11 parastatals lined up for sale have an asset value of Sh200 billion with KICC currently valued at Sh6.25 billion.

Others are valued as follows, Kenya Pipeline Company(Sh142 billion),  New KCC(Sh14.11 billion), Kenya Seed(Sh12.59 billion), Rivatext East Africa Limited(Sh6.38 billion), National Oil Corporation of Kenya(Sh5.98 billion), Kenya Literature Bureau(Sh4.75 billion), Numerical Machining Complex(Sh963 million), Mwea Rice Mills(Sh700,000 million), and Western Kenya Rice Mills Limited(Sh0.013bn).

The valuation is according to Auditor-General reports,  between 2019, 2020 and 2021.

From its inception, KICC was not only meant to be a conference centre but also designed to be a symbol of unity, progress, and global connectivity.

Until other major buildings which include Teleposta towers came up, KICC held the rank as the tallest building in the country.

It has not only been a tourist attraction site for local tourists but also foreigners who troop there to marvel at the city in the sun.

It is, however, still ranked as one of the top places to hold conferences on the continent.

When was it built?

Designed by architects Karl Henrik Nøstvik architect and David Mutiso, the 32-storey building was commissioned by former President Jomo Kenyatta in 1967.

The construction was undertaken by contractors Solel Boneh & Factah.

It was done in three phases.  Phase I was the construction of the podium, Phase II consisted of the main tower and Phase III involved the plenary.

Construction was completed in 1973, with the opening ceremony occurring in September 1973 by Kenyatta.

About the building

It is a crucial address for a number of government offices, including those of the Senators.

The centre is currently one of the state corporations established under the Tourism Act 2011.

Its objective and purpose is to promote the business of Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences and Exhibitions also known as MICE.

In September 2013, as the complex celebrated its 40th anniversary, it was renamed the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

It boasts of being the leading facility in the meetings industry in East Africa and has held quite a number of regional and international conferences the recent Africa climate summit.

Others are the World Bank Conference in 1973, the Inter-parliamentary Union summit in 2008, other UN-based conferences, the 8th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the 7th Global Conference on Health and the 5th Pan African Malaria Conference.

Ownership dispute

At one point, the building was the party’s headquarters until the government reclaimed it.

Former Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat had in 2012 claimed that the party had a title deed to the building and listed it among its assets.

The party listed buildings worth Sh4.5 billion and short-term assets of Sh1.5 billion in its returns.

The Auditor General in its past report for the year ending June 2019 revealed that the parcel of land in which the building is set is not owned by the State Corporation that runs as the title deed is not registered under KICC.

The land was then valued at Sh2.29 billion.

Privatisation programme

The announcement comes just a month after the president signed into law the Privatisation Bill 2023, which handed the National Treasury unchecked powers in the sale of state entities.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u argued that its privatisation will generate additional revenue for the government and reduce the demand for exchequer support.

“KICC operates in a mature and competitive sector of the market, with other private sector players offering similar services both locally and regionally,” Njuguna said in the 2023 Privatisation programme.

KICC was because it needed to be incorporated into limited companies.

Ruto had announced that the government would do away with non-strategic or loss-making government entities.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star