Monday - July 3, 2023 - The University of Nairobi, in collaboration with its esteemed French partners, AgroParisTech-Université Paris Saclay, Centrale-Supélec-Université Paris Saclay, Chimie ParisTech-Université Paris Sciences et Lettres PSL, École des Ponts ParisTech, and Mines Paris-Université Paris Sciences et Lettres PSL, proudly inaugurated the Tripartite Partnership Agreement (TPA) Kick-Off ceremony today for the highly anticipated Engineering and Science Complex (ESC).
This momentous occasion marks a significant milestone in the development of the Engineering and Science Complex, an advanced facility designed to bridge the gap between industry and academia, fostering innovation and knowledge exchange. The ESC aims to equip students with the necessary skills and expertise to thrive in the ever-evolving engineering, science, and technology landscape.
The event commenced with speeches and presentations by distinguished key speakers, including His Excellency Arnaud Suquet, the Ambassador of France to Kenya and Somalia, who emphasized the project's importance as France's largest cooperation endeavour in Africa's higher education sector. He highlighted Kenya's significance within France's new vision for its relationship with the continent and expressed the belief that the ESC would become a hub in East Africa for cooperation and mobility between Kenyan and international actors.
The Director of the French Development Agency (AFD), Mr Willocquet Betrand, announced AFD is pleased to support this flagship partnership for the next four years. The Engineering and Science Complex will prioritize environmental sustainability and aim to achieve LEED certification, demonstrating the commitment of both Kenya and France to the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The collaboration between French and Kenyan universities will facilitate knowledge exchange, benefiting both sides and paving the way for training a new generation of skilled engineers and scientists in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The partnership is expected to have a transformative impact on education.
Prof. Stephen Kiama, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, underscored the significance of the Tripartite Partnership Agreement in fostering capacity building and sharing best practices between the partner institutions in France and Kenya. He emphasized the transformative impact the TPA would have on the Engineering and Science Complex, transforming it into an iconic place where academia meets the economic world, education meets people, and research and innovation meet society.
Prof. Fethi Bedioui, Director of International Relations at Chimie ParisTech, highlighted the importance of fruitful partnerships for achieving the goals of the Engineering and Science Complex. He emphasized the need for collaborations between academia, business, industry, and policymakers to address global challenges, contribute to economic growth, and jointly tackle societal issues. Prof. Bedioui also emphasized the opportunities for international exchanges, collaborations, and joint research projects that the ESC would provide.
Mr Brian Ouma, the Chief Operations Officer and Director of University Advancement and Institutional Development, emphasized the belief in research, education, and innovation as the foundation of the partnership between France and Kenya. He highlighted the partnership's focus on research, curriculum development, and innovation to address complex global challenges and push the boundaries of knowledge. Mr Ouma also emphasized the importance of industry-academia engagement, curriculum enhancement, and internationalization for education's modernization.
The ceremony was attended by esteemed guests, including industry leaders, government officials, renowned researchers, and representatives from leading academic institutions in France. An interactive question and answer session allowed participants to deliberate on aligning the Engineering and Science Complex with industry needs and trends. Furthermore, attendees engaged in discussions regarding potential partnership opportunities, joint research initiatives, and student engagement programs.
Representatives from partnering organizations, including Bureau Veritas, Elgon Kenya, TotalEnergies, Schneider Electric, and Saint Gobain, were also present during the event, underscoring the collaborative efforts across sectors to drive innovation and progress.