Varsities challenged to use research in powering Kenya’s edge on global trade

The need to keep pace with the cutthroat competition in global trade has seen President William Ruto challenge scholars and researchers in tertiary learning institutions to come up with solutions.

During the commissioning of the Blue Economy Research Hub at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST), the Head of State invited Kenyan universities to engage in research and innovation to develop solutions to urgent problems facing Africa and the world.

The President challenged academics and researchers to transcend abstract discussion and seek practical results in the blue economy so that Kenya doesn’t miss out on the enormous opportunity in a domain where she has a clear competitive and comparative advantage.

“Our transformation agenda is committed to harnessing innovation, scientific research and technological development to place Kenya at the cutting edge of global competitiveness.

“Our institutions of higher learning, particularly universities, hold tremendous promise of stewarding the attainment of our country’s development aspirations through specialized research that meets local demand for knowledge and technology that complements specific local competitiveness as this university is going to do,” he said.

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Dr Ruto assured stakeholders that his administration is prepared to support the upscaling of research and technology while also encouraging them to explore additional study financing from the private sector.

“We will continue to provide necessary support and I want to encourage our university management teams to engage with the state department for higher education research and the ministry so that we can together agree on how to fund and manage our universities into the future.”

The blue economy has in recent years gained heightened importance as the alternative source of food, energy and other utilities as the global population swells, putting strain on terrestrial resources.

It is for this reason that political leaders and scientists from across the world convened in Nairobi in November 2018 to rethink the way humans interact with the oceans and craft a framework for the sustainable exploitation of marine resources.

During the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, myriad delegates made commitments to advance a sustainable Blue Economy in their respective countries and around the world, in the fields of marine protection, plastics and waste management, maritime safety and security, fisheries development, financing, infrastructure, biodiversity and climate change, technical assistance and capacity-building, private sector support, and partnerships.

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