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Kenya bets on industry-academia linkages to promote green agenda

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Kenya is facilitating robust collaboration between academic institutions and industry to advance the green and sustainability agenda through research, innovations and capacity development, officials said on Thursday.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Judi Wakhungu said implementation of projects that advances green growth hinges on structured collaboration between private sector and research institutions.

“Participation of industry and academic institutions is crucial to implement the UN 2030 goals and the Paris accord on climate change. Both institutions can provide finance, technology and manpower to help us accelerate low carbon transition,” Wakhungu said.

She spoke in Nairobi during a forum on harnessing ICT and big data to hasten implementation of sustainable development goals (SDGs) on energy, health and food security.

Senior policymakers, industry executives and scholars attending the forum noted there is a global consensus on the need to strengthen partnership among businesses and research institutions to address pressing challenges like climate change, infectious diseases, water scarcity and hunger.

“Kenya is at the forefront of addressing climate change impacts through a multi-stakeholder approach involving the government, industry, academia and the civil society,” said Wakhungu.

She noted that enactment of progressive regulatory and policy frameworks has encouraged local industries to invest in green projects in diverse sectors like energy, manufacturing, agriculture and water.

“Our national climate change adaptation plan has the full backing of investors in renewable energy, waste management and agribusiness. There is a realization that investing in green business promise returns in the long-run,” said Wakhungu.

Kenyan academic institutions have mobilized domestic resources to stimulate climate change research and promote green innovations.

The Vice-Chancellor of Nairobi University, Professor Philip Mbithi said that institutions of higher learning have prioritized research on novel technologies and innovations that can help communities cope with climatic shocks.

“Kenyan universities are behind ground breaking research that is being disseminated at the grassroots to help communities adapt to negative impacts of climate change,” said Mbithi. Enditem