Over the course of 45 years, JKUAT has stood out as a key institution in fostering exchanges and collaboration between Kenya and Japan. Through the University, the Japanese Government has seconded development assistance to Kenya marked by human capacity building, infrastructure development, collaborative research support, and strengthening innovative networks.
In recognition of this enduring collaboration, the Ambassador of Japan to Kenya, Mr. Okaniwa Ken, presented JKUAT with a certificate of commendation, November 8, 2023. The certificate expressed gratitude to JKUAT for its distinguished service in deepening mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the Government of Kenya.
Amb. Okaniwa underscored the success story of the collaboration between Japan and Kenya, emphasizing the pivotal role played by JKUAT through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
“Fostering human capacity development is essential for cultivating a self-sufficient and adaptable nation, as it enables individuals and communities to take a proactive approach in dealing with their unique challenges and prospects,” said Amb. Okaniwa.
The Ambassador’s presentation coincided with the 3rd AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Joint Coordination Committee meeting, which brought together stakeholders from the Ministry of Education, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), JKUAT, Pan African University of Science, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI), and officials from the Japanese Embassy in Kenya.
Amb. Okaniwa exhorted that JKUAT should now set its sights on a new horizon by forging tripartite collaborations that bring together the government, private sector, and academia.
“The idea of tripartite collaboration signifies a strategic alignment of interests and resources from three critical sectors of society: government, private sector, and academia. Each of these sectors possesses unique strengths and resources that, when combined, can lead to remarkable outcomes that can significantly benefit Kenya and the region as a whole,” said Amb. Okaniwa.
On her part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi appreciated the support JKUAT Has received from the Japanese Government, saying the collaboration with Japan over the years has significantly contributed to JKUAT internationalization agenda.
“Through our partnership, we have opened up opportunities for our students, faculty, and researchers to engage with their counterparts from around the world, gaining invaluable exposure to diverse cultures, perspectives, and cutting-edge research,” attested Prof. Ngumi.
According to her, JKUAT’s internationalization has not only broadened its academic community but has also enriched the quality of education and research at JKUAT.
AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Chief Advisor, Prof. Hiroshi Koaze reported that during the one-year period (2022/2023), 42 research innovation projects, drawn from JKUAT and PAUSTI were funded to the tune of Kshs. 26,509,862.
Since getting the nod for the second phase in 2020, the AFRICA-ai-Japan Project has so far built capacity of 19 JKUAT staff members who have secured long-term training opportunities in Japanese universities with another group of technical staff undertaking specialized short-term training in the Project’s thematic areas.
Principal Secretary, the State Department for University Education and Research, Dr. Beatrice Inyangala, lauded the milestones recorded by the AFRICA-ai-JAPAN and thanked Japan for their educational and research support in the country.
In a speech read on her behalf by Senior Assistant Director of Education, Mr. Paul Mungai, she said Japanese government’s support has enabled Kenya cultivate an environment conducive to fostering excellence in Science, Technology, and Innovation, which are essential for driving socio- economic transformation on the continent.
Council Member, Prof. John Nderitu, representing the Chair of Council, Mr. Hassan Abdi Mohammed, reiterated JKUAT’s commitment to the enduring partnership with the Government of Japan. He encouraged researchers from both JKUAT and PAUSTI to proactively engage in collaborative research that aligns with the Government’s development agenda known as the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).
The meeting featured progress reports from the various chairs of the sub-taskforces of the project. These were presented by Africa-ai-Japan Chief Advisor, Prof. Hiroshi Koaze; Chair, Innovation and Prototyping Integrated Centre, Dr. Hiram Ndiritu; Chair, Innovation Centre for Bioresource, Prof. Daniel Sila; Chair, Innovation Centre for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Dr. Caroline Ngugi; and Chair, Innovation Centre for Computing and Technological Solutions, Dr. Michael Kimwele.
Present during the meeting were the Director General NACOSTI, Prof. Walter Oyawa, Embassy of Japan Officials, Mr. Nishimura Masaya and Mr. Baraka Nangithia, JICA Headquarter Officials, Mr. Hiroshi Mochizuki and Ms. Ikue Eda, Jica Kenya Office Officials, Ms. Nami Sakai and Mr. Simon Kariuki, Deputy Vice Chancellors, Prof. Robert Kinyua, Prof. Jackson Kwanza, among others.