Investment in human capacity development is vital for creating a country that is self-reliant and resilient. It empowers individuals and communities to be proactive in addressing their challenges and opportunities.
These were the sentiments of the Ambassador of Japan to Kenya, Mr. Okaniwa Ken during an event at JKUAT to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Kenya-Japan partnership.
“Human capacity development empowers individuals and communities, promotes innovation and creativity, which are essential for solving complex problems and adapting to changing circumstances,” said Amb. Okaniwa.
Borrowing from adage, ‘continuity is strength’ the ambassador was alive to the fact that JKUAT has enjoyed long-lasting relations with the Japanese government now spanning over 40 years and assured the Vice Chancellor that his country is committed to support JKUAT’s research endeavours.
“We will continue to cherish the strong partnership between JKUAT and Japan and expand the research efforts in emerging fields such as ICT, artificial intelligence, and rocket science,” said the Ambassador.
Mr. Okaniwa believes that with the new areas of focus complementing existing research efforts, JKUAT can contribute to the development of new technologies, solutions, and opportunities and enhance its reputation as a center of excellence in the region.
Education Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Ezekiel Machogu lauded the Japanese Government’s role in ensuring the success of the bilateral relations between Kenya and Japan.
“Over the past six decades, Kenya and Japan have enjoyed a strong partnership that has seen our nations collaborate in various fields. The partnership has been characterized by mutual respect, trust, and shared values, which have strengthened our friendship and cooperation,” said the Cabinet Secretary in a speech read by the Deputy Director in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Gideon Kivengea.
He further said that the Kenya-Japan partnership has gone beyond bilateral relations to encompass regional and global collaboration.
“Kenya and Japan have worked together in various international forums, including the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) hosted in Kenya, where we have shared our experiences and perspectives on various issues of global concern,” the Cabinet Secretary said.
On her part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi said the development of JKUAT over the years has taken place in the backdrop of strong support from the Government of Japan.
One of the key projects supported by Japan at JKUAT is the Africa-ai-Japan Project. The goal of the project is to establish JKUAT and PAUSTI as a Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) hub through interdisciplinary and collaborative research and linkages with industry and academia in Africa, Japan and other regions.
Prof. Ngumi further said the Japanese Government had been steadfast in supporting various teaching and research functions through scholarships and the establishment of modern infrastructure and linkages with other universities and industries across the globe.
The event was marked by a public lecture titled ‘My 30 Years Journey in Kenya,’ by Prof. Makoto Kimura, from Kyoto University, Japan. The don cited his Community Road Empowerment project, and called for private sector, government as a way of marshaling bespoke solutions to the problems facing the African continent.
Ambassador Okaniwa was accompanied to JKUAT by JICA Kenya Chief Representative, Mr. Hajime Iwama.