It will take a change in attitude, willingness to innovate and adoption of new work philosophies to turnaround Africa’s potential into a sustainably thriving economy. This is the message that threaded the address by the renowned industrialist, Dr. Manu Chandaria to a team of researchers, scholars and industry players attending the 2016 International Sustainable Research and Innovation Conference.
Dr. Chandaria who officiated the opening ceremony of the Conference challenged participants to begin to look at research and innovation anew. Meaningful innovations, he opined, should positively transform livelihoods. He passionately dissuaded the academy from engaging in worthless research that cannot translate into anything useful.
The industrialist decreed petty competition among African countries which he said was a barrier to cross-country learning and collective synergy to move the continent forward
Dr. Chandaria said that even as the rest of the world get fixated in Africa, it was up to Africans to do the hard work to improve global visibility and enable better life to the over 1 billion citizens.
The important work of nation building, he warned, should not be marred by social and sub-national identities like ethnicity.
On her part, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga informed the participants that JKUAT had over the years invested in research and innovation with the effort now paying off.
Prof. Imbuga who was represented by Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, Deputy Vice Chancellor in Charge of Academic Affairs, mentioned the Taifa Laptop, the first locally conceived and designed computing device to retail in Kenya, as a testimony to the University’s innovative knack.
‘This innovative dexterity saw a consortium of JKUAT and Positivo BGH win a highly a competitive bid to supply and install digital learning devices under the Jubilee government’s Digital Literacy Programme,’ said the Vice Chancellor in a speech read by Prof. Odhiambo.
The government’s confidence in local capacity to provide national solutions, she added, was a boost to indigenous innovation and talent.
Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Esther Kahangi challenged the participants to focus on emerging areas like renewable energy and rural to urban migration; both holding implications for the socio-economic progress of the country.
During the two day conference, a total of 51 papers covering key areas including Environmental Management, Power Systems and Transmission, Marine Applications, Renewable Energy, Mining and Mineral Processing, Manufacturing, and SMEs will be presented. The event attracted 102 participants drawn from universities, research institutions and industry from nine countries namely: Kenya, Uganda, Botswana, South Africa, Egypt, South Korea, Japan, The Netherlands and Germany.
The opening ceremony was also attended by Principals: Prof. Bernard Ikua (CoETEC); Prof. Haroun Mengech (CoHES); Prof. David Mulati (CoPAS) and Prof. Jackson Kwanza (Karen Campus).