The Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) Summit will be held in Nairobi on Aug 27 and 28 this year at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, the first time the event is being held in Africa since its inception in 1993.

Addressing industrialists, scholars and stakeholders drawn from Africa and Japan at the opening of a pre-TICAD conference at the Jommo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) here Friday, the Principal Secretary at the Department for University Education, Professor Collette Suda, said the Ministry of Education viewed the forum as valuable for the country to benchmark best practices, especially from Japan based on the country’s accumulated experiences of linkages among Industry, Government and Academia.

She affirmed the Kenyan government’s commitment to support the partnerships between JKUAT and top universities in Japan adding that such partnerships would promote Science, Technology and Innovation in order to respond to the needs of Industry through full utilization of local knowledge, wisdom and resources in Africa.

“There must be concerted efforts towards strengthening research and human resource capacity in universities through inter-university collaboration and linkages amongst Industry-Government-Academia players in order to achieve this,” she said.

Noting that universities played a crucial role of generating high quality manpower, she thanked the Japanese government for supporting JKUAT in strengthening its technological area.

She said the government was concerned about the acute shortage of qualified university academic staff, researchers and science technicians in the country, adding : “We need to aim at making it the norm for academics to have doctorates and to make a special effort to expand the number of Kenyans with higher degrees.”

On the forth coming TICAD forum, she said the discussions would focus on key thematic topics on industrialization, health, and social stability, which are relevant to the country and the continent.

The decision to host the TICAD VI Summit in Africa was reached during the TICAD V Summit in 2013 when it was agreed that the venue of subsequent TICAD Summits be alternated between Japan and Africa. The interval of summit meetings was also shortened from every 5 years to three years.