By Claire Wanja/Statement
Kenya and France have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see Kenyan Universities initially from 30 Million USD to finance the modernization and expansion of the teaching, learning and research portfolio.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Dr. Fred Matiang’i signed the MOU on behalf of the Government while the Regional Director of France Development Agency(AFD) Nairobi Office, Mr. Yves Boudot—the implementing organ—signed.
The signing was done in the presence of French Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Rémi Maréchaux and Principal Secretary for University Education, Prof. Collette Suda at Jogoo House Thursday.
Dr. Matiang’i observed that demand for University was great, saying this was a strain on the exchequer.
He said Universities were consequently unable to develop the infrastructure they need to provide excellent teaching, and research capability, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Dr. Matiang’i said to Kenya needs to graduate a minimum of 1,000 doctorate of Philosophy degrees every year to be able to meet the high education and training needs of the country.
He said the resource constraints the government and private universities face, it cannot effectively meet graduate research studies.
He challenged universities—private and public—to take advantage of the credit facilities and modernize and expand their teaching and research facilities.
The French Ambassador, H.E. Rémi Maréchaux said the credit lines that AFD will provide will enable universities establish teaching and learning facilities that will create the capabilities Universities need to train fast rate engineers, technicians, doctors and other experts for the market.
Under the MOU AFD will facilitated the creation of financial base to support universities to address the needs of public and private universities in tackling the challenges of relevance, access, equity, and quality.
AFD will set up a concessional credit line to Kenyan commercial banks to support universities infrastructure investments in strategic faculties, matching with national strategic plan Vision 2030 and the current and future needs of the private sectors and industries in Kenya.
Under the MOU, the credit line will be available public and private universities.
The identified priority areas for this facility, agriculture, civil engineering, ICT, medicine and health sciences, energy resources (solar, oil and mineral).
Ambassador Maréchaux indicated that AFD may consider providing a second batch of credit lines given this was first pilot concessional credit line.