Japan’s support for Africa’s Higher Education Steadfast

Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi makes her remarks flanked by Deputy Vice Chancellors, Prof. Robert Kinyua (right) and Prof. Bernard Ikua.

Japan’s support for higher education, research and technology transfer in Africa is bearing fruits with continued implementation of the Africa-ai-JAPAN Project. The Project that started in 2014 with funding from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has seen modernization of teaching and research environment at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and the Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI).

In the last year, Africa-ai-JAPAN Project dedicated KSh. 26.6 million to support innovation and research among students and staff drawn from JKUAT and PAUSTI; resulting in over 100 publications. The Project has also supported purchase and installation of equipment for advanced research in areas such as animal science, horticulture, and food science, over the same period.

On the capacity building front, seven JKUAT staff members have secured long-term training opportunities in Japanese universities with another group of technical staff undertaking specialised short-term training in the Project’s thematic areas.

These milestones were revealed during the Project’s phase II second Joint Coordination Committee meeting held on Tuesday, October 18, 2022.

Prof. Hiroshi Koaze highlights the success witnessed by the project

Speaking during the meeting, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi lauded JICA for its steadfast support to JKUAT saying, Africa-ai-JAPAN Project had become a beacon for connecting JKUAT to global partners including Universities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Countries.

The Vice Chancellor added that the initiative had leveraged technology in the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic to stage incubation seminars – allowing JKUAT and PAUSTI community to share information and research experiences with international partners.

Prof. Ngumi added that JKUAT’s strengthened research capacity elevated the institution to play a leading role in helping the government realise its development programmes ranging from agriculture, environment, manufacturing and healthcare provision.

Scholastica Ndambuki who represented Education PS, Amb. Simon Nabukwesi thanked Japan for continued support to Kenya’s development bid through higher education and research, exemplified by the Africa-ai-JAPAN Project.

JICA’s Director for Technical and Higher Education Division, Akihiro Iwasaki appreciated the role played by the Project in enhancing cooperation between Africa and Japan. He noted that Africa-ai-JAPAN Project had taken a lead role in cementing partnerships with different industries and other JICA-supported projects in the region.

Mr. Kenji Hayashi who addressed the meeting on behalf of JICA Kenya Office said that JKUAT had made valuable contributions to the recently held Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development (TICAD-8); generating useful discussions towards supporting Africa’s development through higher education and research.

Mr. Kenji Hayashi from JICA Kenya Office gives his remarks. Listening on is Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi

The hybrid meeting was followed virtually by other stakeholders and saw the presentation of 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 Deputy Vice Chancellors, Prof. Robert Kinyua, Prof. Bernard Kinyua and Prof. Jackson Kwanza and NACOSTI representative Mr. Komen Chepkonga, among others.

Japan’s support for Africa’s Higher Education Steadfast

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