The Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers and Minister of East African Community Affair of Kenya Hon. Musa Sirma has said that students and academic staff in universities in the region with brilliant ideas in business development and strategic innovation will be identified through a call for conceptual write-ups.
Those having the best concepts according to the Minister will be linked to the private sector so that business experts can assist them to actualize their ideas.
Minister Sirma made the announcement at the 2012 Higher Education Forum in Arusha Tanzania.
Sirma elaborated that the difference between the world’s upcoming economies and the stable economies lies in how much research goes into the economic development and how much of the new knowledge is utilized to promote development.
“I want to applaud the Inter-University Council for East Africa and the East African Business Council for recognizing the critical role that universities and industry play in fostering social-economic development and taking the first step in the EAC to mainstream partnership between the two words,” he said.
The EAC Secretary General Amb Dr. Richard Sezibera reiterated that in order for the region to sustain growth it must focus on diversification and structural transformation which calls for continuous technological innovation and involvement of the public and private sectors.
Sezibera added that the Forum and Exhibition was pertinent to the aspirations of the Community, as spelt out in the EAC Development Strategy and the EAC Industrialization roadmap.
“I am delighted to see the emergence of collaborative partnership between the academia and industry through IUCEA and EABC, which is a positive direction in responding to the spirit of the EAC as provided for in Article 128 of the Treaty on strengthening the role of the private sector in the integration process,’’ said Sezibera.
He said that it is critically important for higher education institutions and the business community in the region to sustain the emerging collaborative partnership for the successful implementation of the EAC Industrialization Strategy and other socio-economic initiatives in the Community.
“I wish to take this opportunity to pledge my support and readiness to ensure that the emerging collaborative partnership between the academia and industry is sustained and effectively utilized to contribute to the socio-economic development of the people of East Africa,” he added.
Professors and the academia from universities in the region and outside EAC; the Regional Commissioner of Arusha, Mr. Magesa Mlongo; Permanent Secretary Ministry of EAC Affairs Uganda, Mrs. Edith Mwanje; Representative of the Ambassador of Federal Republic of Germany to Tanzania and GIZ; Higher Education Managers; Researchers; Business Community and Policy Makers are attending the three-day Forum and Exhibition.
The main objective of the forum and exhibition is to provide convergence of higher education and business community so as to engage in dialogue and strategize on how to develop effective higher education systems in East African linked to both the public and private sectors for promoting sustainable socio-economic development and regional integration.