AU Commissioner Reaffirms Support for Pan African University

Au commissioner,Prof. Mohammed Belhocine signs the visitors book as Prof. Robert Kinyua (left) looks on

The African Union (AU) has reaffirmed its commitment to enhancing educational and technological collaboration among its member states. Professor Mohammed Belhocine, Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation at the AU, has reiterated the Union’s strategy in strengthening partnerships, in driving sustainable socio-economic development and prosperity across the region.

Prof. Belhocine was speaking when he visited Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) which hosts the Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI), on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

Prof. Belhocine commended the Kenyan government for cultivating stability, which has enabled the seamless operation of educational activities at PAUSTI.

“I want to acknowledge the Kenyan government for effectively supporting implementation of PAUSTI, which we know isn’t easy. Across different administrations, PAUSTI has remained stable and unchallenged. The AU’s legitimacy is drawn from its member states, which mandates the Union on behalf of the continent,” stated Prof. Belhocine.

He highlighted that the AU takes pride in its accomplishments, noting one significant success: the integration of Pan-Africanism to provide affordable education from undergraduate to post-doctoral levels.

“We have trained 2,000 master’s and 500 PhD students from 53 different nationalities across the continent. This demonstrates tremendous success,” Prof. Belhocine revealed.

A round table discussion on the state of Pan African University

Beyond academia, Prof. Belhocine added that another important mission of the Pan African University is peace building, offering students a platform to learn about different cultures.

Although the PAU is growing larger, Prof. Belhocine revealed that it faces a myriad of setbacks such as financial challenges, publications and patents and acquisition of assets.

Dr. Micah Onsando, Chairman of the JKUAT Council, expressed pride in hosting PAUSTI noting that JKUAT recently achieved the ranking of 2nd best university in Kenya and 60th  in Africa. He stated that JKUAT has steadily risen to be the face of agriculture and technology Kenya.

He revealed the University’s ambition under his stewardship of the University Council.

“My vision is to transform the University’s innovations and technology into a commercial venture. I have already done a council paper that shows how we can commercialize science. We hope to showcase a product in the next three years,” said Dr. Onsando.

Dr. Onsando pledged to utilize all infrastructure and support provided by the AU effectively.

Prof. Losenge Turoop, Director of PAUSTI, welcomed Prof. Belhocine to the university, emphasizing the visit’s role in fostering pan-African collaboration.

He highlighted PAUSTI’s pride in training diverse talents from across the continent and expressed eagerness to continue contributing to Africa’s scientific and technological advancement. Prof. Losenge noted that with the support of the AU, PAUSTI remains steadfast in nurturing innovation and academic excellence as catalysts for sustainable development across Africa.

The AU Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation was received by Deputy Vice-Chancellors: Prof. Robert Kinyua for Academic Affairs, Prof. Bernard Ikua for Administration and Finance, and Prof. Jackson Kwanza for Research, Production, and Extension.

L-R- DVC Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Jackson Kwanza, DVC Academic Affairs, Prof. Robert Kinyua, Chairman of Council, Dr. Micah Onsando, AU Commissioner, Prof. Mohammed Belhocine, Pausti Director, Prof Turoop Losenge and DVC, Administration and Finance, Prof. Bernard Ikua

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