The cooperation agreement is part of wider development and economic partnership between Caribbean nations and East Africa that will also involve the states of Suriname, Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and will have education as the social and cultural pillars of the deal.
The cooperation agreement is part of a partnership between Caribbean nations and East Africa
Under the deal signed earlier in August, Kenya which has in recent years imported doctors from Cuba will have medical students trained in Barbados, and in exchange, their Barbadian compatriots will visit Kenya for internship opportunities.
As part of the deal signed by Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and Barbados prime minister Mia Mottley, is the University of the West Indies, which will enter into student and faculty exchanges and other such joint initiatives with Kenya’s University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University.
Noting that Barbados has a high literacy rate compared to Kenya, Kenyatta stated that education presents a potential area for the two countries to further collaborate through sharing of experiences and expertise.
In what could be a new era of closer Africa-Caribbean education cooperation, areas of exchange will include training and application in Information and Communications Technology, which Kenya had made significant progress in as an African leader.
If the deal to commence faculty and student exchange between the UWI and the Kenyan universities succeeds, they will become the third and fourth institutions that the UWI will have African universities.
Already the UWI has ties with Nigeria’s University of Lagos’ Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg-South Africa.
Finer details and modalities will be subject of discussions between Barbados, partner Caribbean states and Kenya later in the year, when a Joint Commission for Cooperation is established, according to Kenya’s foreign affairs minister Monica Juma.
It was agreed that Caribbean states including Jamaica where Kenyatta will strive to establish direct air transport links with Africa to ease movement which would make education ties possible.
While African and Caribbean countries had vibrant relations during the early years of the twentieth century, close cooperation did not grow in independent Africa, with academic ties leaning more towards India.