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Kenya's Government and AFD signed two financing agreements to the tune of 35 million euros aiming to improve academic training in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
On October 29, the Government of Kenya and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) signed two financing agreements to the tune of 35 million euros aiming to improve and open up available academic training in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in Kenya. The signing happened at the National Treasury of Kenya, between Amb. Ukur Yatani, CS National Treasury and Mr. Bertrand Willocquet, AFD Kenya Director, in the presence of Prof. Gitahi Kiama, Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, Mr. Franck Riester, French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, and Ms. Aline Kuster-Ménager, Ambassador of France to Kenya.

A 30 million euros concessional loan (approximately 4 billion Kenyan shilling) will finance the detailed design, construction and seed equipment of an Engineering and Science Complex (ESC) in the University of Nairobi. An adequate and ambitious environmental certification will be sought for the building (LEED Silver, or equivalent international certification).

An additional 5 million euros grant (approximately 645 million Kenyan shilling) will help with the creation and launch of the new ESC, by supporting the architects teams in monitoring the building activities, and the pedagogical teams in reviewing of curricula and pedagogy, as well as support to building stronger links with industry and increasing internationalization, in partnership with top French Science and Engineering universities.    

It will also allow the launch of a Gender program to support women in STEM. This program’s activities include:

  • Conducting a gender baseline survey to collect and analyse data that will enable UoN to design and initiate programs that support women in STEM and raise awareness on gender issues. Special attention will be paid to the situation of mothers and to the opportunity of providing potential solutions for childcare.
  • Ensuring that the buildings designs are gender sensitive, with the provision of safe spaces if deemed relevant by the gender baseline study.
  • Formation of a gender committee that will develop an action plan aimed to support women participation and success in STEM studies, at all levels (management, staff, students), and implementation of such an action plan.

The 21st century is experiencing strong global changes that will have a significant impact on populations and lifestyles. After two centuries of worldwide industrial and societal development, major evolutions such as digitalization, “datafication”, the rapidly growing complexity of all systems, the planetary impact of human activities, and the globalization of society, are at play.

In connection with these major global challenges, Kenya has set its own path for development. Vision 2030 has laid out the goal of transforming the country into a newly industrialized middle-income economy within the next 10 years, and key infrastructure projects have been launched accordingly. The Big Four agenda has prioritized food security, housing, healthcare and manufacturing as the main areas of focus for government action. The implementation of these overarching objectives requires a workforce with the adequate set of skills, especially in Science, Engineering and Technology.

The University of Nairobi is the pioneer institution of University education in Kenya and the region. As such, is leading the way into training the next generation of adequately skilled engineers and scientists that will drive Kenya’s development. It is against this background that UoN has elaborated the Engineering and Science Complex (ESC) project, supported by AFD.

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