The contribution that Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has injected in Kenya’s development goals would largely be attributed to the solid foundation laid by the Government of Japan for a period spanning two decades. It is the Government of Japan through its foreign aid agency, JICA that provided all the financial funding used to construct JKUAT and its entire infrastructure system.
Receiving Mr. Hirotaka Ishihara, Japan’s Parliamentary Vice Minister for foreign affairs at JKUAT, Thursday March 6, 2014, Prof. Victoria Ngumi, Acting Vice Chancellor traced the development of JKUAT under JICA funding, since 1981, to the year 2000, when JICA official funding to the University ended.
Prof. Ngumi informed Mr. Ishihara that a significant number of the current staff at the University trained in Japan in various disciplines under JICA funding and were now part of core leaders at the forefront in advancing a culture of research and innovation among faculty and students.
Prof. Ngumi, a beneficiary of JICA staff training programme at Hiroshima University acknowledged that the JICA funding that she said was also used to acquire modern equipment had been instrumental in granting JKUAT a competitive edge not only in east Africa but in the entire sub-Saharan Africa.
“The location at JKUAT of the Pan African University Institute of Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation can largely be attributed to JKUAT’s strength in Engineering and the applied Sciences,” Prof. Ngumi emphasized.
She as well linked the huge demand for JKUAT academic programmes that she said had seen a huge increase of students enrollment from less than 5,000 to the current figure of 35, 000 students in a decade to the practical nature of JKUAT programmes.
Mr. Hirotaka Ishihara, who was with Mr. Shintaro Kitagawa and Mr. Hideki Harada, both from Japan’s foreign Ministry and JICA Kenya Chief, Hideo Eguchi, was on a three day visit to Kenya to evaluate various Official Development Assistance projects and their impact on the people.
While at JKUAT, the official had an interactive forum with a section of faculty who had previously studied in Japan. The vice minister toured the Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology where JICA has funded a research projects aimed at exploiting renewable energy to accelerate Kenya’s rural development. The entourage also visited JKUAT-Nissin Foods ltd, a noodles manufacturing unit implemented through public private partnership model.
The ceremony was attended by Prof. Esther Kahangi, Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension and Prof. Bernard Ikua, Principal, College of Engineering and Technology among others.