17 May 2017

Kenya: China, Kenya to Beef Up Collaboration in Plant Species Conservation - Official

Nairobi — China will strengthen collaboration with Kenya in scientific research and capacity development to revitalize conservation of the East African nation's wild flora, an official said on Monday.

Wang Qingfeng, the Director of Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre (SAJOREC) that is affiliated with Chinese Academy of Sciences said Beijing is committed to helping Kenya advance sustainable management of its botanical wealth.

"In the last five years since we signed a memorandum of understanding with National Museums of Kenya (NMK), we have intensified collaborative research to promote conservation of plant species," Wang said.

He spoke to Xinhua on the sidelines of the 21st edition of Association for the Taxonomic Study of the Flora of Tropical Africa (AETFAT) congress taking place in Nairobi.

SAJOREC which is housed at Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT) has sponsored the five day conference attended by hundreds of scientists and researchers to explore new measures to boost conservation of Africa's botanic treasures.

Wang said that sustainable management of wild flora is key to accelerate sustainable development in Africa.

"Communities are increasingly turning to native plants for raw materials, medical care, energy, fiber and food hence the need to enhance conservation of plant diversity," said Wang.

Kenya is among African countries that have benefited from technical and financial support from China to strengthen conservation of vital ecosystems like wild flora and fauna.

Wang noted that exchange programs between Kenyan and Chinese scientists have re-energized home grown initiatives to promote sustainable management of genetic resources.

"We have published several books and articles in peer reviewed journals on biodiversity conservation with our Kenyan partners, we are also promoting joint exploration to identify challenges facing wild flora in several parts of the country," Wang told Xinhua.

He added that Beijing will continue to support capacity development for African scientists to enhance their contribution to the continent's ecosystems protection agenda.

"Training the next generation of African scientists is key to boost biodiversity conservation," Wang said.

The establishment of Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre in Kenya has revitalized biodiversity conservation agenda in the country.

Wang said the centre has improved the capacity of Kenyan scientists and researchers to find solution to challenges facing wild flora like pollution and invasive species.

"Our future collaboration with Kenyan research institutions will focus on emerging threats to plant species," said Wang, adding that improved research capacity and technology will boost Kenya's capacity to contain threats to wild flora.

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