Columbia University has established a Global Center for Africa in Nairobi, the first such institution in the continent.
Speaking during the occasion, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn welcomed the establishment of the Global Center noting that the facility will offer practical solutions to challenges faced not only in the region but the continent as a whole.
The Prime Minister expressed his government’s total support to the centre whose new technologies will help his country to realize sustainable development agenda.
The facility which signals a greater level of engagement between the University and the region will in addition to providing a base for Columbia's research and academic activities also hosts the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Centre for East and Southern Africa as a flagship program.
The Nairobi-based MDG Centre supports and implements the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) in six countries - Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia.
The Center will also provide a base for the Columbia University's students and academics to conduct contextualized research work in and for Africa guided by the continent's real life challenges while transforming Nairobi into the region's academic hub to benefit both the country and its neighbors.
On the launching of the facility at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), President Mwai Kibaki welcomed the establishment exuding confidence that the Center will contribute positively to the achievement of the country's Vision 2030 particularly through dissemination of objective and research-based advice to the Government and relevant stakeholders.
President Kibaki encouraged institutions of higher learning and research in the country and the continent to take maximum advantage of the facility, expressing hope that the Centre will achieve its noble goal of fostering international collaboration and research across a wide range of disciplines by bringing together private enterprise, public officials, scholars and students to collectively address issues of global importance.
He also welcomed the decision by the Columbia Global Center to establish links with regional organizations such as the AU, EAC, ECOWAS and IGAD as well as institutions of higher learning and the private sector.
On his part, the Head of the Columbia University Prof. Lee Bollinger noted that the establishment of the centre will go a long way in creating proper linkages among the higher learning institutions in the region.
Prime Minster Hailemariam on the occasion held discussion with President Kibaki on bilateral and regional issues.