NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – The University of Nairobi Wednesday got a major boost when President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that annual funding for the institution will be increased by Sh100 million.
He said the additional money from the government will be used to fund new inventions and the annual exhibition the university holds to showcase its innovations.
President Kenyatta, who spoke when he officially opened the UoN’s Nairobi Innovation Week, challenged other universities to showcase their innovations in fields such as agriculture and health.
He said the Kenyan economy will benefit from new innovations as has been proven by mobile money transfer in which Kenya has been the trendsetter.
The Head of State said government agencies and the private sector must support innovators by buying their products and services.
He gave his speech after touring exhibition stands where young innovators displayed various products and services. One of the innovations that captivated the visitors was biofuel made from hyacinth, the weed that has chocked Lake Victoria.
“I remain encouraged by the innovative initiatives being undertaken by the University of Nairobi. This University has remained true to its status, being our oldest and most distinguished institution of higher learning,” said President Kenyatta.
He urged Kenya’s young innovators to come up with solutions to reduce the cost of health services.
“Too many of our people still don’t have healthcare they can afford: will one of you find a way to lower healthcare costs?” asked the President.
He also challenged institutions of higher learning to put more focus on teaching sciences.
“We must keep improving the teaching and application of education in science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. In this context, I am so pleased by the work being done at the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology in Africa, to raise the standards of our science education,” said President Kenyatta.
He said the government has done a lot over the recent years to support innovators.
The President said the Government has hastened the building of the National Optical Fibre Backbone through the National Broadband Strategy.
“With Phase II nearly complete, the backbone provides broadband access across the country to connect our people and businesses faster than ever,” said President Kenyatta.
He added that the Government has also created the National Council of Science, Technology, and Innovation under the Ministry of Education.
The Council serves as the custodian of the National Research Fund and our National Innovation Agency, bringing together our sharpest research minds to collaborate for the good of the country
The Cabinet Secretary for ICT Joseph Mucheru and the Vice Chancellor of the university Prof Mucheru spoke at the event.
Mucheru said the government is fully committed to supporting innovators and universities in advancing technology.
The VC said the Nairobi Innovation Week, which is an annual event, will be improved so that it can showcase more innovations.