Brexit Will not hurt Kenya-UK Scientific Relations

Mr. Hamilton makes his remarks as Prof. Odhiambo (center) and Hellen follow

Mr. Hamilton makes his remarks as Prof. Odhiambo (center) and Hellen follow

The move by Britain to leave the European Union will not hurt scientific cooperation between United Kingdom and Kenya, a British Official said, adding that the UK will remain a major player in global research and scientific cooperation.

John Hamilton who heads the UK’s Prosperity Agenda at the British High Commission in Nairobi, said Britain and Kenya share a rich history of relations in science, technology and innovation.

Hamilton said the UK had committed KSh. 500 billion to spur research and innovation activities globally through initiatives such as Newton-Utafiti Fund, launched in Kenya in July 2016.

Underscoring the deepening economic relations between the two countries, the official noted one in ten of Kenya’s formal workforce were employed by the 200 British companies operating in Kenya, which he characterized as an innovation hub in East Africa.

Hamilton said science and innovation were key planks in sustainable economic growth not just for Kenya but for the entire Africa. He therefore called for additional international scientific collaboration between UK and Kenya.

Hamilton was speaking Monday April, 3, 2017 at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology where he addressed the opening session of a workshop on analytical chemistry.

Prof. Anthony Gachanja explains to participants how to use a Gas Chromatography and Mass Specrometry machine at the JKUAT, during the workshop

Prof. Anthony Gachanja (right) explains to participants how to use a Gas Chromatography and Mass Specrometry machine at the JKUAT, during the workshop

The week-long workshop that brought together participants from Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and Tanzania was mounted under the auspices of the Pan African Chemistry Network (PACN) and aims to equip selected African scientists with hands-on skills on Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS).

Royal Society of Chemistry – Senior Programme Manager for Africa, Dr. Helen Driver  said the annual workshop had been instrumental in building a critical mass of African scientists who can contribute to global knowledge in the chemical sciences.

Dr. Helen strongly pushed for science -based policy making, pointing out that chemical analysis held vast potential for Africa in a panoply of areas such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, water quality, and environmental protection.

She challenged the participants to prioritize learning and forge lasting professional networks that could help address cross-national challenges related to chemical sciences.

Through a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Dr. Hellen said the initiative aimed to train 400 scientists by 2020.

Welcoming the participants to JKUAT, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga said Africa stilled grappled with a number of challenges on industrialization and environmental protection; all of which could be addressed through knowledge and practice of chemical analysis.

Prof. Imbuga added that JKUAT was ready to play its role as a center of excellence in training, research and innovation to harness global efforts and provide sustainable solutions to Africa’s socio-economic challenges.

Participants at the end of the opening ceremony

Participants at the end of the opening ceremony

The Vice Chancellor’s remarks were delivered by Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, Prof. Romanus Odhiambo.

Dr. Christopher Were who represented GSK at the event said the multinational which had footprints in 44 African countries, had dedicated substantial resources to research and development in its thematic areas.

Dr. Were said GSK was working with top universities such JKUAT, University of Nairobi, Makerere University, University of Ibadan, and University of Kigali to build capacity of African scientists towards long-term development of the continent.

The workshop is sponsored by Pan African Chemistry Network in collaboration with Royal Society of Chemistry and GlaxoSmithKline.

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