The Ambassador of Japan to Uganda, H.E. Kazuaki Kameda on Wednesday, 17th April 2019 made a courtesy visit to the African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD) Office, Makerere University. He was received by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Dr. Bitek Titus Watmon who represented the Vice Chancellor Kyambogo University and AICAD officials led by the Acting Executive Director-Prof. Dominic Byarugaba. Also present from AICAD were the Director Research and Development Division-Dr. Benson Odongo, Director Training and Extension-Patrick A. Wakhu as well as former AICAD Uganda Country Office Director-Prof. Oswald Ndoleriire.
Welcoming H.E. Kazuaki Kameda, Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government and people of Japan for the immense support received through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and AICAD shortly after Uganda had emerged from the civil war in 1987. He thanked JICA for the continued support to AICAD, which has enabled the Secretariat to fund research and training activities.
Makerere benefitted a lot in the form of research and training through AICAD support. This support was timely, because we developed a critical mass of staff in a select number of disciplines such as security and population studies which are pertinent to Africa's development remarked the Vice Chancellor.
Prof. Nawangwe also appreciated the construction of the then Faculty of Science Extension (JICA Building) completed in 1992 as well as support to the Department of Geology which led to additional mineral discoveries through joint research activities. I implore Your Excellency to use your office to renew support to our joint research with Japanese colleagues for the mutual benefit of both our countries.
He also acknowledged the Japanese Government's contribution to infrastructural development through the construction of projects such as the newly completed Source of the Nile Bridge. The 525metre cable-stayed bridge was officially opened to traffic on 17th October 2018 and has a lifespan of 120 years.
In his remarks, the Ambassador thanked the Vice Chancellor and leaders present for the extremely warm welcome to Makerere University. He highly appreciated Prof. Byarugaba's efforts in organising his visit to the AICAD offices.
I am happy to see that AICAD has continued to carry out its activities with support from the Regional Governments of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania added H.E. Kameda.
Prof. Dominic Byarugaba informed the meeting that AICAD's Headquarters are located within the main campus of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). The three AICAD Country Offices are located at Egerton University in Kenya, Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania and Makerere University. He added that the Institute's mandate is poverty reduction in Africa through human capacity development especially in the area of agriculture, which employs the largest portion of the population.
Prof. Byarugaba further noted that AICAD supports key projects such as value addition to clay products in Kyambogo University as well as Namanve and Kajjansi areas where large deposits of clay exist. Industries with advanced glazing machinery have gone ahead to produce tiles and other ceramic products.
He shared that in response to threats posed by climate change, AICAD had conducted value addition trainings for products such as milk and vegetables. He added that the Institute had partnered with JICA to promote intensification of the New Rice for Africa (NERICA) variety in the East African regions of Mbeya and Morogoro in Tanzania, Ahero and Busia in Kenya as well as Eastern Uganda.
The choice of crop AICAD promotes is informed by the agro ecological zones of Uganda. For example in Eastern Uganda, JICA and AICAD conducted a lot of trainings on rice growing in partnership with Busitema University. In Western Uganda, we concentrated on bananas but also appended other crops such as coffee and tea and partnered with the Operation Wealth Creation in the distribution of seedlings. In Northern Uganda, we partnered with Gulu University to conduct training on simsim growing, as well as other foods that improve the health and nutrition status of the previously displaced communities Prof. Byarugaba further explained.
Dr. Bitek Titus Watmon in his contribution however called for the need to AICAD and JICA to set up a professional training centre where students from Universities and Technical Institutions can acquire professional hands-on skills. This, he said would help to stem the rising tide graduates from these institutions whose skills in areas such as torch welding do not meet professional standards and as such, their products cannot be accepted by international markets. This intervention will be necessary if these graduates are to match skills required by Uganda's and the region's promising oil and gas sector.
Source: Makerere University