The Special Advisor to the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA), Mr. MIHARA Asahiko has acknowledged the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) as one of the best and leading universities in Kenya and the region.
Mr. MIHARA revealed this when he visited the University on Friday, May 27, 2022, where he and his delegation held discussions with the University Management aimed at strengthening the existing ties and partnerships.
The JICA Advisor noted that his visit had two main objectives: To see ongoing projects in Kenya, including the geothermal projects being undertaken in the country, as well as to strengthen existing ties in what he termed as a “fact-finding” mission to explore “what can we do in collaboration with you and receive candid opinion from the university scholars on what can be useful to JKUAT and JICA.”
This, he added, would form his feedback to Tokyo, Japan, as part of an initiative that seeks to reinforce collaboration between JKUAT and JICA.
Mr. MIHARA appreciated the University Management for the warm reception accorded to his delegation which included: Mr. Hiroo TANAKA (Director-General, Infrastructure Management Department, JICA Headquarters), Mr. Hajime Iwama (Chief Representative of JICA Kenya), Mr. Kosuke ODAWARA (Deputy Director-General of Africa Department, JICA), Mr. Kenji Hayashi (Senior Representative, JICA Kenya Office), Yuji TAKAHASHI and Ms. Sakura HOTTA (Representatives of JICA Kenya).
Present during the meeting was the Africa-ai-Japan Chief Advisor, Prof. Hiroshi Koaze accompanied by Dr. Shohei AOKI, Ms. Mai TODA (both from Africa ai-Japan Project) and Ms. Taeko SAWAIKE of LENGO project.
In her welcoming remarks to the visiting team, JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, recalled the strong bilateral ties between JICA and JKUAT that dates back to the inception of the institution in the 1970s, noting, “JKUAT epitomizes the strong relations and partnership between the Government of Kenya and the Government of Japan.”
“This institution has a long-term partnership with JICA and many JKUAT staff members have benefitted from JICA for MSc and PhD training programmes as well as technical facilities among others,” said, Prof. Ngumi.
The Vice Chancellor said JKUAT has leveraged on the partnership with Japan through JICA to become, “one of the leading universities in the region owing to its orientation and recognition as a practically oriented technical university.”
JKUAT, she added, has cemented her place as a veritable player and champion for STI in Africa, as demonstrated in the fact that JKUAT won the competitive bid to host the African Union’s Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI), which is currently playing a key role in Africa in terms of STI capacity development.
The Vice Chancellor also highlighted the significance of the AFRICA-ai-JAPAN project, now in second phase under JICA assistance, whose membership she stated, is drawn from JKUAT and JICA and is coordinating its mandate in terms of capacity development, strengthening research activities, enhancing industrial linkages as well as expanding global partnerships.
She expressed JKUAT’s desire and hope “to partner with JICA beyond AFRICA-ai-JAPAN project after 2025” and further contribute to industrial development and advanced research activities in Africa.
“JKUAT has the potential to be the one-stop Center for Japanese Universities and Companies and a strong HUB University with support from Japanese Government through JICA,” Prof. Ngumi, observed.
College Principals present including Dr. (Eng.) Hiram Ndiritu (COETEC), Prof. Elegwa Mukulu (COHRED), Prof. George Thiongo (COPAS), Prof. Elijah Ateka (COANRE) and Dr. Reuben Thuo (COHES), all appreciated the support their respective colleges have received from Japan through JICA. They made special appeal for more support towards training, research and innovation activities at the university.
The Special Advisor also had an opportunity to visit cutting-edge research projects and programmes supported by JICA during a guided tour of various sections including engineering workshops, labs, innovation exhibition centre and the greenhouses.