The Government of Japan through JICA has given the African Union-africa innovation-JKUAT and PAUSTI Network (AFRICA-ai-JAPAN) Project a one-year extension to strengthen Science, Technology and Innovation Training in Africa to boost manufacturing and spur economic growth across the continent.
This was revealed during the AFRICA-ai-JAPAN 4th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting held at JKUAT, November 22, 2018 when partners of the project discussed the 2017/2018 progress report.
The project, a tripartite agreement between Government of Japan, African Union Commission (AUC) and Government of Kenya, was initiated in June 2014, with the objective to strengthen the research and innovation capacity of JKUAT towards successful implementation of the Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI).
Speaking during the meeting, JICA Kenya Chief Representative, Ms. Keiko Sano lauded the efforts of PAUSTI in creating the critical mass of scientists for the development of the country.
“PAUSTI has been one of the greatest achievement of the project and I am glad to report that the Institute has so far received 450 students and graduated 120 postgraduate students including 14 PhDs,” reported Ms. Sano.
While highlighting the upcoming 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) to be held in Japan next year, Ms. Sano advised the project team to make use of the conference to share the milestones and research activities of JKUAT/PAUSTI and the role AFRICA-ai-JAPAN plays in capacity building for a sustainable and stronger economy in Africa.
The Chairman of Council, Prof. Paul Njuki Kanyari acknowledged that the innovation Prototyping and Invention Centre (iPIC) and the Small Animal Facility for Research and Innovation (SAFARI) handed over in 2017, had significantly boosted research and innovation capacity of the University and challenged JKUAT and PAUSTI researchers to proactively engage the industry for commercialization of the research outputs.
“This will ensure that JKUAT leaves an unmatched footprint of academic research and innovation excellence in this part of the world,” said Prof. Kanyari.
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi said AFRICA-ai-JAPAN project had enabled JKUAT solidify its international standing as a strong model for scientific and technological research and innovation.
Going forward, she implored the project to significantly improve the prevailing work environment by creating the necessary human resource and infrastructure to facilitate research and innovation activities capable of impacting on the well-being of all stakeholders on the African continent and the globe at large.
AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project 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). The project culminates in June 2020.