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Science and Technology is at the heart of China Africa Relations

 Aerial view of SAJOREC project  in JKUAT. It was started to enhance collaboration between the two countries through scientific research and higher education. [Photo: Courtesy]

A senior Chinese official has says that science and technology and innovation (STI) forms an important aspect of the cooperation between China and Africa.

Drawing from Chinese experience, Mr Wang Yang, the chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Mr Wang Yang said investment in STI was the most rational approach to sustainable social-economic transformation and development.

Mr. Wang who was speaking on Saturday June 16, 2018, when he visited JKUAT-based Sino African Joint Research Centre (SAJOREC).

He said the centre was an important landmark of China Africa cooperation and 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 whose outputs can be tapped to transform lives," Mr. Wang urged.

Beyond the realm of scientific cooperation, the official 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 could 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 Kenya students and assured Mr Wang of her Ministry's commitment towards successful implementation of SAJOREC.

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

"The centre 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. Jinghua said.

Prof. Jinghua said through the collaboration, 122 African students had benefited from masters and PhD scholarships obtainable at the CAS.

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

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

SAJOREC is a Sh3 billion government to government project, signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Xi Jinping in 2013; to enhance collaboration between the two countries through scientific research and higher education.  

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