The plan to construct a KShs. 1.15 billion Sino-African Joint Research Centre and botanical garden at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology moved a notch higher following the signing, Tuesday November 18, of a construction contract between the University and Shangai Construction Group (SCG) Company Limited. The project which is to be funded by the Chinese Government is slated to foster plant biodiversity research in the region while boosting human capacity through research and training in the thematic areas.
Speaking during the contract signing ceremony, SCG’s General Manager for Eastern and Southern Africa, Zheng Lei noted that the initiative is a strong symbol of friendship between Kenya and China; countries that he noted shared great histories in human evolution. While Kenya had been named the cradle of mankind Zheng said, he also underscored the fact that china had the longest history of human civilization.
“This research centre will further deepen cooperation between our people and we intend to make it the best botanical garden in Kenya,” Zheng added.
While reiterating the commitment of the University in the implementation of the project, Ms Bertha Dena who represented the Council during the signing ceremony said the project held immense potential in terms of research for JKUAT. She urged the company to work within the construction timelines and deliver the project on schedule.
Vice Chancellor Prof, Mabel Imbuga welcomed the SCG team to JKUAT and reported that ground-breaking for the project will be undertaken early December, following the signing of the contract.
The research laboratories, the Vice Chancellor reported, would greatly impact biodiversity research in respective areas including plant ecology, plant systematic and evolutionary biology, and plant molecular biology.
The project that is to sit on 40 acre piece of land within JKUAT grounds will take 16 months to complete.
The contract signing ceremony was also witnessed by Council member, Fenny Mwakisha; JKUAT deputy vice-chancellors chancellors: Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, Prof. Esther Kahangi, Prof. Otoki Moirongo and Prof. Victoria Ngumi; and SAJOREC Director, Prof. Robert Gituru, among others.