By Martin Masinde
The East African Business Council (EABC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Africa Higher Education Research Institute (AHERI) to promote higher education and industrial growth in the EAC and the continent.
Speaking during the signing ceremony at Radisson Blue Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr. Kalisa said “This partnership is set to transform East Africa into a knowledge-based economy.”
He stated that trade in goods is expedited by the free movement of persons & services. The services sector contributes 51% of EAC’s Gross Domestic Product.
In accordance with the EAC Common Market Protocol, countries liberalized 7 key services sectors of: business services, communication services, distribution services, education services, financial services, tourism and travel-related services, and transport services.
Mr. Kalisa expounded that the MoU is hinged on collaboration in research to boost East Africa’s productive capacity, competitiveness and innovation of new products and services that meet continental and global market requirements.
On his part, Robert Owino, Executive Director of AHERI said “Harmonization of the education system and research in Africa is important in the actualization of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).”
He called for 4% of Gross Domestic Product to be allocated to research and development. Africa’s research and development funding was only 0.42% of GDP (2019).
He stated that EABC and AHERI have partnered to advocate for appropriate legislation on intellectual property rights and address skills mismatch in order to enhance academia and industry collaboration in East Africa and the continent.
He noted that with the advancement of technology youth have the opportunity to access online consultancy works such as computer programming and export their skills globally.
Mr. Barrack Otieno, Director ICT, AHERI expounded that top leaders and think tanks in East Africa have perused education from academic institutions in the region. He noted that AHERI and EABC partnership is set to turn ideas into action.
The two parties will collaborate on joint research projects, conferences, resource mobilization and development of the education sector including technological and professional education and research.