The East African Business Council (EABC) has partnered with the Africa Higher Education Research Institute (AHERI) in a move meant to promote higher education and industrial growth in East Africa and the African continent at large.
Speaking on Wednesday during the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at a Nairobi hotel, EABC Executive Director John Kalisa said that the partnership is set to transform East Africa into a knowledge-based economy.
“Trade in goods is accomplished more quickly by the free movement of persons and services,” said Kalisa.
He added that the service sector contributes 51 percent of East Africa Community’s (EAC) Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Kalisa noted that in accordance with the EAC Common Market Protocol, countries liberalized 7 key service sectors namely business services, communication services, distribution services, education services, financial services, tourism and travel related services, and transport services.
“This 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.”
AHERI Executive Director Robert Owino said that harmonization of the education system and research in Africa is important in the actualization of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
“We call for 4 percent of Kenya’s GDP to be allocated to research and development,” urged Owino.
He added 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 Africa.
Owino expressed optimism that with the advancement of technology, youth have the opportunity to access online consultancy work, such as computer programming
AHERI ICT Director Barrack Otieno affirmed that the two parties will collaborate on joint research projects, conferences, resource mobilization and development of the education sector including technological, professional education and research.