ASSAf in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) hosted the Kenya-South Africa diaspora colloquium. The event targeted Kenyan senior scientists, young scientists and PhD students in the social, physical and natural science fields working in South African research organisations, universities and the private sector.
Also invited were South Africans who have had research collaboration with Kenyan counterparts and those who were interested in creating networks and seeking partnerships. Lastly, Kenyan and South African innovators and entrepreneurs who could share their experiences with a view towards addressing challenges in both countries were invited.
Kenya and South Africa share cordial relations with each other as exhibited by interactions between the South African DST, Kenyan Ministry of Education and National Commission for Science, Technology & Innovation (NACOSTI). Additionally, South African institutions like the National Research Foundation (NRF), ASSAf and the Kenya National Academy of Sciences (KNAS) have regular engagements on specific projects on an annual basis. South Africa and Kenya have also collaborated in research in various thematic areas including information, communication and technology (ICT), health and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The motivation to host the colloquium arose from the need to nurture the relationship between South Africa and Kenya in order to ensure the successful and effective use of science, technology and innovation (STI) as tools for development and to strengthen collaboration between the two countries.
The event was held on 23 November at the Protea Fire and Ice Hotel in Pretoria and was opened by Dr Phil Mjwara, Director-General of the DST who delivered the keynote speech and the Minister Counsel of the High Commission of the Republic of Kenya who represented the High Commissioner, Her Excellency Jean Kamau. The event was well attended by over 80 participants and during the closing, participants provided suggestions which will be used to determine themes for future meetings and areas for future collaboration.