Professor Patrick Verkooijen’s appointment as the new chancellor of the University of Nairobi is a testament to his close ties with President William Ruto.
Interestingly, the Dutch national was instrumental in helping Ruto and former President Uhuru Kenyatta land jobs in the global organisations associated with his company.
For instance, in September 2023, after ascending to power, Ruto joined the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) advisory board courtesy of an invitation by Verkooijen.
GCA is a global organisation founded by Verkooijen, focusing on climate change adaptation programs.
A photo of the University of Nairobi (UoN) towers in Nairobi County.
“I look forward to working closely with Professor Verkooijen and the Board to build on the USD 6.7 billion (Ksh1 trillion that the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) has already invested in resilient climate projects in 27 countries since 2021.
“By working together I am confident that we will make great progress in ensuring that international commitments to deliver highly strategic and comprehensive adaptation responses are fulfilled,” Ruto stated after landing the role.
On the other hand, Verkooijen also shared close ties with Ruto’s predecessor, Uhuru, who was named the AAAP global champion in July 2022.
At the time, he noted that Uhuru had made notable strides in addressing climate change in the country.
“You (Uhuru) pioneered Kenya’s commitment to land degradation neutrality. You ratified the Paris Agreement in record time. You made Kenya one of the first countries globally, not just in Africa but globally, to announce and submit ambitious NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) targets, and there is much more,” he stated then.
Who is Verkooijen?
Apart from being the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), Verkooijen is also a scholar.
He has a PhD from Wageningen University and a master’s in philosophy from the University of Amsterdam. For his undergraduate, he studied environmental engineering at the University of Utrecht.
“In 2022, Prof. Verkooijen was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Nairobi in recognition of his championing of climate resilience for Africa. He was also honoured with the Green Deal Prize in the 2022 Financial Afrik Awards,” read his bio on GCA.
A photo collage of UoN Chancellor Patrick Verkooijen (left) and President William Ruto.
Planetary Security Initiative/ PCS