, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 12 – The Kenya government has offered office facilities to the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Consortium Board.
President Mwai Kibaki made the pledge when he met and held discussions with the CGIAR Consortium Board Vice Chairman Mr Carl Hausmann who called on him at his Harambee House office on Monday.
During the talks, President Kibaki assured the international body of any other necessary support from the government including benefits and privileges to its employees enjoyed by the UN bodies based in Nairobi.
The Head of State also reiterated the government’s commitment to continue meeting her one million dollars annual subscription to the Consortium Board.
Welcoming more international bodies to establish their headquarters in the country, the President observed that the government appreciated the enormous benefits accruing from the various Nairobi-based international research centres affiliated to CGIAR.
The Head of State noted that through collaboration with international research centres, the country has the most comprehensive research programmes on maize, wheat, potatoes and other major cash crops in the region.
Apart from research outputs, President Kibaki said, the country benefited from the research infrastructure established by the centres and also offered employment to Kenyans.
“It is estimated that the benefits to Kenya from these centres is approximately $150 million in terms of funds spent by the centres in the country for research and development,” the President said.
Kenya is the host to International Livestock Research Centre (ILRI) and the World Agro forestry Centre (WAC) in addition to the regional headquarters for International Maize and Wheat Research Centre(CYMIT), the Centre International Potato Research (CIP), International Centre for Research in Dry Areas (ICRISAT) and International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) among others.
Kenya is the only African Member country that has been shortlisted to host the CGIAR headquarters. Other countries competing with Kenya to host the world research body include Italy, France, India and Ethiopia. Over 15 countries had shown interest.
CGIAR which is a strategic partnership of 60 countries, multilateral donor organisations and international foundations, including Kenya among five African countries, is funded by the members to the tune of $600 million annually with 50 per cent of its budget being spent on research in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Consortium Board is the supreme governance and management organ of the 15 International Research Centres.
The talks were attended by Agriculture Assistant Minister Gideon Ndambuki, Head of Public Service and Secretary to Cabinet Amb. Francis Muthaura and Agriculture PS Romano Kiome among other government officials.