Kenya has become the first African country to host the Columbia Global Centre, an initiative of the US-based Columbia University, which launched this week in Nairobi to offer space for technological research and innovation.
President Mwai Kibaki, who opened the centre, hailed it as a development that will take the nation to the next level.
Technical and vocational training at middle level tertiary education, Kibaki said, is also undergoing unprecedented reforms to promote the integration of science, technology and innovation into the national production systems for sustainable development.
The head of the Columbia University, Prof. Lee Bollinger, stated that the establishment of the centre will go a long way in creating proper linkages among the higher learning institutions in the region.
According to Business Daily, the centre will host a video-conferencing facility that will enable idea exchange globally. The Nairobi-based facility will equip modern scholars with relevant hands-on experience enriched by different perspectives gained through the Global Centers network.
The initiative is expected to help in the Millennium Villages Project, a venture covering Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia which aims to help up to 80 spots in rural Africa as envisioned by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The centre will be working with other institutions such as AU, EAC, ECOWAS and IGAD, as well as institutions of higher learning and the private sector.
Other countries that have hosted the Columbia Global Centre include Amman, Beijing, Istanbul, Mumbai, Paris, Santiago and Rio de Janeiro.
Similar research and innovation centres have been launched in Kenya. Last year, IBM announced the opening of a research centre at the Catholic University to spur research and innovation in the region.