The Chinese government has heightened its pledge to invest in the development of a Botanical Garden and the Sino-African Biodiversity Research Center at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), an initiative mooted two years ago.
The garden which is a flagship project of the Vision 2030 development agenda will include construction and stocking of six laboratories, a research centre consisting of five gardens and hostels for both local and international scholars.
Prof. Zhu Xian Bin, Assistant President of University of Sciences (UCAS), informed an appraisal meeting that the Chinese government is also in the process of reviewing the number of scholarships to be awarded to JKUAT postgraduate students and other Kenyan students who qualify to study in Chinese Academy.
The establishment of a Botanical Garden and Ecology Observation Station project was is set to be completed and operational by end of 2014. It is part of the Sino-African Joint Research Project on Biodiversity Conservation studies in the East African Flora and fauna. The aim of the project is foster biodiversity conservation research talent in African countries.
The facility will house laboratories for plant ecology, plant systematic and evolutionary biology, and plant molecular biology. There complex will also house administrative offices.
The project will be used for training to build the capacity of Kenyan scientists and technicians and other people involved in biodiversity research across the continent especially under Pan African University Institute of Basic Science Technology and Innovation (PAUTSTI) which is hosted at JKUAT, Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga confirmed.
Prof. Imbuga highlighted the great attention the government is putting on implementation of the project and a performance contract has been drawn to monitor the progress made by both parties.
The project will contribute to the national heritage and culture by increasing the number of conservation programmes of endangered species which is prioritized in the Vision 2030.
Dr. Salome Gichura, Director of Education, Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology pledged government support for the project noting that the higher education sector has experienced a rapid expansion in the number of Universities that are slated to benefit from the facility once it is completed.
The meeting was also attended by Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affair Prof Romanus Odhiambo and Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension Prof. Esther Kahangi.