Tributes rented the air as various speakers passed messages of goodwill to two JICA experts attached to the AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project whose service tenure had come to an end. Prof. Shinjiro Shiomi and Ms. Oda Sachiko will be remembered for their dedicated service to the project that has, since inception in 2014, transformed the research environment in JKUAT/Pan African University. Prof. Shiomi served the Project as an expert in the area of agriculture and bio resources since 2014; while Ms. Oda was the Project Coordinator for two years.
Speaking during the farewell ceremony on Thursday May 30, 2019, JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi thanked the two for their dedicated service in fostering Kenya-Japan relations through higher education and research.
Prof. Ngumi urged the two celebrants to uphold the spirit of friendship and use future opportunities to forge even closer ties with JKUAT for the benefit of Kenyans and Japanese.
Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI) Director, Prof. Gabriel Magoma passed his farewell wishes; noting the interaction with the team had led to absorption of critical concepts and ideas such as Kaizen (continuous improvement). Prof. Magoma used the occasion to thank JICA for equipping PAUSTI laboratories, enabling students to undertake basic and applied research in the Institute’s thematic areas.
JKUAT Deputy Vice Chancellors: Prof. Mary Abukutsa, Prof. Bernard Ikua, and Prof. Robert Kinyua, all thanked the departing duo, acknowledging their individual and collective contribution in the implementation of the AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project.
Prof. Shiomi who first came to Kenya in 1989 during the initial phase of the establishment of JKUAT thanked JKUAT/PAUSTI management and staff for the support during his stay with the Project. He called for continuous and harmonious collaboration between Kenya and Japan in research.
On her part, Ms. Oda appreciated the support by the colleagues in the Project Office and the University community since she joined the Project in April 2017.
Prof. Shiomi and Ms. Oda will both report back to the JICA headquarters in Tokyo, Japan for subsequent postings.
AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project is a tripartite agreement between the Government of Kenya; the Government of Japan and the African Union to support successful actualization of PAUSTI by strengthening research capacity of JKUAT. It is implemented through five sub-taskforces, focusing on key areas of consequence to Africa’s development aspirations. These sub-taskforces include the Innovation and Prototyping Integrated Centre (iPIC); Innovation Centre for Bio-resources (iCB); Innovation Centre for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (iCMoB) and Innovative Open Data and Visualization (iODaV) and the Innovation Center for Product, Development and Commercialization (iPDeC).