EAC Universities and the business community have been urged to forge strong working partnerships in order to spearhead the transformation of the economies of the region to be knowledge-based.
The call was made by the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania H.E. Dr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal.
He was officiating at the 2012 Higher Education Forum themed Linking Universities to industry for Building Knowledge-Based Economies and Regional Integration in East Africa at Arusha in Tanzania.
He said universities and higher education in general, and the private sectors have to work closely so as to make significant and complementary contributions to the socio-economic development of the bloc by transforming the economies and promoting the livelihood of the societies in general.
H.E. Gharib Bilal called upon universities and the entire higher education systems, and the business community to respond to the regional and global demands and challenges in order to effectively contribute to rapid socio-economic development of the region.
He noted the need to harmonize higher education and training systems that will facilitate free mobility of the youths to study in a university of their choice in any Partner State, and at the same time to enable cross-border mobility of the graduates.
The Vice President commended the East African Business Council for the important role it played in the operation of the Customs Union and Common Market Protocols, which are among the important pillars for facilitating regional integration.