A Delegation from Kenya’s Jomo Kenyata University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) under the AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project Office (Phase 2) this week visited the University of Botswana in search for opportunities for research collaborations.
The delegation met with Deputy Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, Professor Georges Ekosse, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Professor Edward Dintwa, Dean of the Faculty of Science, Professor Ishmael Masesane and Dr Robert Batane, Head of Department Mechanical Engineering.
Professor Ekosse welcomed the visit as strategic in that it sought to explore and understand how UB conducted its business in teaching and learning, research, and stakeholder engagement. He expressed the desire for UB and JKUAT to collaborate.
Professor Ekosse said education, research, and outreach programmes were not only beneficial to universities but the society as well. He reckoned that collaborations with partners such as The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) not only brought funding but ideas that could be customized to meet Africa’s expectations.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Services (JKUAT) and Project Manager (Africa-ai-Japan), Professor Robert Kinyua, said JKUAT shared similar ambitions with UB, which was to educate and propel their countries’ citizens through education and research. As such, he said collaboration with UB would foster societal contribution. Professor Kinyua stated that their focus as an institution was on agriculture and technology which JICA had been supporting immensely.
He explained that since the 1980s, JICA had always been a partner of JKUAT, aiding in infrastructure development, supporting in staff training and cultural exchange.
Dr Shohei Aoki, JICA expert on engineering, mentioned that through his research on UB, he managed to identify the biodiesel project as one area of key interest in Kenya which JICA had been supporting through funding. Dr Aoki further said the project would create constructive interaction between the two institutions and JICA.
Dr Robert Batani, Head of Department of Mechanical engineering, acknowledged there were a number of areas UB and JKUAT could collaborate on and one such was the biodiesel project which had potential for commercialization. He also mentioned Material Science as another area that needed development hence JKUAT was ideal as a partner.
On the other hand, Professor Dintwa reiterated that it was partly through JICA support that the biodiesel research project was born. As for Professor Masesane, he thanked the delegation from Kenya for recognsing there was prospect for collaboration with the University of Botswana.