Wang Yang (C) talks to researchers at the JKUAT-based Sino-African Joint Research Center (SAJOREC), on June 16, 2018.

A senior Chinese official says that STI (science and technology and innovation) is key to cooperation between China and Africa.

Drawing from Chinese experience, Wang Yang, a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, said investment in STI is the most rational approach to sustainable social-economic transformation and development.

Wang was speaking on June 16, 2018, when he visited the JKUAT-based Sino-African Joint Research Center (SAJOREC). He said the center is an important landmark of China Africa cooperation and shows a shining resolve by Beijing to work with Africa in confronting global challenges.

While acknowledging that investments in research take time to bear fruits compared to industrial production that fuels economic partnership, the official said SAJOREC occupies a central place in China's foreign policy towards Africa.

"We should create conducive conditions for our scientists at SAJOREC to undertake quality research with outputs that can be tapped to transform lives," Wang urged.

Beyond the realm of scientific cooperation, Wang called for closer collaboration between China and Kenya; emphasizing the need for people to people and heart to heart exchanges; without which, he cautioned, not much can be achieved.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed lauded China for supporting establishment of SAJOREC at JKUAT; a move that she reckoned had enhanced research in natural resources conservation and modern agricultural techniques in Kenya.

"The research center will enhance cooperation in human resources training so as to sustain the momentum of Kenya's long-term development," the CS said.

Amina urged the government of China to extend additional scholarship opportunities to Kenyan students and assured Wang of her Ministry's commitment towards successful implementation of SAJOREC.

The Director General of the  Bureau of International Cooperation at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Prof. Cao Jinghua, said as the only research center funded by China in Africa, SAJOREC is a key pillar of the Belt and Road Initiative.

"The center will play a key role in food security, wildlife conservation and public health while promoting integration of higher education and technology between the two countries," Prof. Cao said.

Prof. Cao said that through the collaboration, 122 African students had benefited by obtaining CAS scholarships for master’s and PhD studies.

Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga said JKUAT was honored to host SAJOREC which she said was home to specialist research laboratories, as well as conference facilities.

Imbuga added that researchers at the center are currently spearheading applied research projects in areas such as biodiversity conservation, geography, microbiology, molecular biology, and natural products development.

SAJOREC is a Sh3 billion ($29.8 million) government to government project, signed by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 to enhance collaboration between the two countries through scientific research and higher education.



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