China boosts environmental study in Kenya with US$30m research centre

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A newly constructed research centre at Kenyan university has been officially handed over by China’s ambassador to Kenya Dr. Liu Xianfa in what has been described as a major boost for environmental study in Kenya.

The research centre at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) was constructed at at cost of US$ 30m.

Speaking during the handing over ceremony at the main campus in Juja, Kiambu County, JKUAT’s Vice-Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga said that the modern research centre the Kenyan university will advance research while boosting human capacity in the university and apart from that, it will educate the society on the importance of biodiversity and conservation.

The new modern development which is built on a 40-acre piece of land is outfitted with a botanical garden, a state-of-the-art agriculture demonstration zone, specialist research laboratories, administration offices, a conference hall as well as accommodation facilities.

“The modern agriculture demonstration zone will showcase modern agricultural techniques and ways of managing dry lands in Kenya and Africa as a whole,” explained Prof Imbuga.

The research centre is the first ever comprehensive and most unique facility that has been funded by the Chinese government in Africa; this is according to China’s ambassador to Kenya Dr. Liu Xianfa.

“Over the past few decades, China has provided a lot of support to Kenya including the building of institutions, hospitals, education facilities, drinking water wells, hydro power stations, roads and providing medical equipment to hospitals, tents to refugees, vehicles to wildlife service and scholarships to officials and technicians but amongst all these projects and training opportunities the Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre is the most unique and significant project we have ever supported,” said Dr Xianfa.

Newly constructed modern research centre at Kenyan university, built in a period of two years and five months, gives guests a view of exotic and local plants that is divided by cemented pathways and small water points complete with sitting areas for visitors to rest while touring the vast garden.

The exotic plants are imported from different parts of the world and will enable researchers from all over the world to conduct research from the centre while in Kenya.

Environmental study in Kenya has largely been hampered by lack of research capacity and financial constraints.

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