Kenya and US in new partnership to support STEM education

Kenyan higher education institutions are set to receive massive financial support from the United States (US) to help adapt their training to the labor market.

It is one of the key achievements recorded by President William Ruto; who is on a State Visit to the US this week.

The details were announced at Spelman College in Atlanta, where officials accompanying President Ruto signed a key agreement with US representatives to support higher education, partnerships especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; abbreviated as STEM.

The agreement falls under the Universities-Industry Cooperation Framework “to drive innovation, research and job growth in STEM-related fields in Kenya and around the world,” according to a dispatch on Tuesday night.

First Cabinet Secretary and Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi signed the agreement, formally known as the “Cooperation Framework for Improving Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education for Economic Development.”

USAID advisor Clinton White signed on behalf of the United States government.

The deal could expand on what the U.S. government has been doing in Kenya. Previously, for more than 20 years, US institutions such as Indiana University have collaborated with Kenya’s Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Moi University on an academic model providing access to healthcare (Ampath). USAID says this now includes 15 institutions in the United States and Canada, according to White.

USAID also announced a new investment pledge of $32 million (Sh4.192 billion) in Kenya’s education system, including support of approximately $0.85 million (Sh111.3 million) to the Edtech Africa initiative. . This is a public-private partnership program run as part of Washington’s Presidential Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement (PAC-ADE) to promote STEM partnerships among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

textile manufacturing

In Kenya, the Kenya Open University in Konza will receive direct support from Mastercard and Microsoft worth approximately $6.5 million (Sh851.5 million) “to connect STEM graduates with jobs in fast-growing sectors.” growth such as information and communication technologies and textile manufacturing. and pharmaceutical products.”

Lower-level educational institutions will also benefit from a $24.5 million early literacy program to help provide basic and relevant skills for the labor market.

For President Ruto, who witnessed the signing, the measure reflects the continuity and renewal of relations between both parties, 60 years later.

“Without the contribution of people like Tom Mboya, we would not be proud of people like the late Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, Barack Obama father of former President Barack Obama and other notable students who benefited from such educational exchanges and had an immense impact at home and all over the world,” Dr Ruto said.

He was referring to the famous educational airlift for Kenyans just before independence, which helped many Kenyans obtain scholarships at American universities; an agreement from the then Minister of Planning, Mboya.

“The Open University of Kenya supports the government’s agenda of inclusion, flexibility, access, affordability and quality education, especially in this era when we talk about the universities of the future,” said Professor Elijah Omwenga, Acting Vice-Chancellor of the Open University. . University of Kenya, who accompanies the President.

Coca-Cola investments

Earlier, the president had toured the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he introduced Nairobi as a hub for crucial vaccine production with local Kenyan agencies.

Dr Ruto also witnessed the signing of a memorandum between beverage producer Coca-Cola and the Kenyan Ministry of Commerce on the expansion of Coca-Cola’s investments in Kenya to the tune of US$175 million (US$22.9 billion). shillings) for the next five years.

Sunil Gupta, CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, said this indicates “our belief in the long-term potential of the Kenyan economy.”

“We are optimistic and fully committed to the future of Kenya. We foresee great economic and social progress,” added Luisa Ortega, president of the Africa Operating Unit of The Coca-Cola Company.

Previously, the president had visited Tyler Perry Studios, owned by Tyler Perry, famous for producing the Madea comics.

He did not meet him, but was introduced by Steve Harvey, an American talk show host.

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