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MAASAI MARA UNIVERSITY TO REAP FROM THE KONZA TECHNOPOLIS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY FOLLOWING THE KICKOFF OF THE KONZA CITY KENYA ADVANCED INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (KAIST) PROJECT 

Maasai Mara University through its Vice-Chancellor Prof. Mary K. Walingo and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Student Affairs Prof. Bulitia Godrick Mathews has spearheaded the quest to apportion part of the KONZA City land, also known as the Smart City to universities. The Mara varsity is honored to be among the identified universities to benefit in the allocation of KONZA City resources for universities.

The Chairman KONZA Technopolis Development Authority Prof. Reuben M. Mutiso PhD, the Chief Executive Officer KONZA Technopolis Development Authority Eng. John Tanui and Kilome MP Hon. Eng. Thaddeus K. Nzambia in their discussion with the Maasai Mara University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Mary K. Walingo promised to support Maasai Mara University to be one of the treasured partners in the coveted KONZA Technopolis Development Authority. 

Prof. Mary Walingo who is accredited as the top notch scientist, having won the First Women Scientist Award in Kenya Life Sciences and receiving the Presidential Award, Elder of the Burning Spear in 2013, affirmed that Smart City will be a solution to enabling the country achieve the highest standards of quality research and innovation outputs. Her presence and quest to have the Mara Varsity to be allocated a space within the Smart City heightened the pursuit and Mara which was not initially featuring among the varsities to benefit in securing space at KONZA City became the latest entrant partner.   

According to Prof. Bulitia who also doubles as the interim Chairman of the National Construction Authority (NCA) Board, the KONZA City is a blueprint of government project meant to hatch an international technological hub that will satisfy all sectors in the country. The forecasted KONZA City sits on a 5,000 acres land where NCA has secured a section and the education sector has followed suit. 

“University sector has been allocated a section of the KONZA City land to advance on Technology, Research and Innovation. The varsities will have their Research and Innovation hubs and incubations where exhibitions will thrive and throng,” Prof. Bulitia said. This will also be aligned to all other levels of education from primary to tertiary levels.

The University also stands to benefit from the Korea-Kenya bilateral partnership which is at an advanced stage. 

The Chief Administrative Secretary and Principal Secretary, State Department of University Education, Ministry of Education Prof. Collette A. Suda led delegates from KONZA Technopolis Development Authority, Maasai Mara University and other stakeholders in touring the initial ongoing KONZA City projects. The first phase is expected to be completed in a month’s time. 

Climax of the move was later attested when the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology as well as the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) kicked off the setting up of the Kenyan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Coincidentally, the acronyms seem synonymous. 

Speaking during the kickoff ceremony, the Chief Administrative Secretary and Principal Secretary, State Department of University Education, Ministry of Education Prof. Collette A. Suda promised that the project is in the right hands. She added that the government will support the project that is paramount in making KONZA City a centre of quality research and innovation.  

She also noted that Kenya is technologically advancing at an appreciable pace but campaigned for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) career trends. “We are very focused on where we want to go and on which path to follow. The main role of KAIST is providing specialized training in various engineering areas to help us as a country to meet the standards of our partner  Korean KAIST that has advanced from Agrarian to Knowledge economy”, Prof. Suda said.  

The Principal Secretary Ministry of ICT Mr. Jerome Okoth Ochieng supported the move assuring that Kenya will move from labour economy to knowledge based economy through prioritizing careers in Science, Technology and Engineering. He added that other universities in Kenya are welcomed to invest in KONZA City through creation of their innovation hubs within KONZA City. 

Jerome also called for Kenyans to uphold highest level and dignity regarding Intellectual Property Rights. He cautioned against parties taking advantage of young or unsuspecting innovators who rush to patent artistic and creative pieces generated by others as their original work. 

The Korean Ambassador to H.E Amb. Choi Yeonghan applauded the initiative saying that it will help Kenya attain international standards and draw great opportunities for economic milestones. “Korea’s support for Kenya drives the support of KAIST establishment so as to realize the Big 4 Agenda and the Vision 2030 through disciplines in Science, and Technology,” Choi said. 

Security agencies in the area promised to offer best services to ensure that the KAIST project and the KONZA CITY entirely is achieved. They maintained that there is no development without security. They urged residents to welcome the projects by providing ample working environment and support to stakeholders. 

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