March 23rd, 2023

Academic-Private Cooperation is Key to Strengthen Graduate Employability (GIZ)

Academic institutions and private sector companies in the EAC need to develop strong partnerships to produce graduates with skills to succeed in employment. This is the key takeaway of the 12th Academia-Public-Private Partnership Forum (APPPF) and Exhibition held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in March 2023.

Speaking at the APPPF, the Chief Guest, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Prof. Adolf Faustine Mkenda, noted: “Education institutions, and the private sector should work together to produce market-driven programmes that are responsive to the dynamic needs of the labour market and train graduates that are relevant for the socio-economic development of our region.”

The University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) Executive Secretary, Prof. Gaspard Banyankimbona, observed that skills required to succeed in employment are constantly evolving which necessitates close collaboration between the private sector and higher education institutions to keep pace with the changes demands in the world of work. “The reality of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning demonstrates the need to continuously revise and alter our training to develop learners that can adapt to the changing demands in employment. Some of the skills learnt today in our various learning ecosystems become outdated even before students graduate. Therefore, it is only through strong partnerships between academia and the private sector that we shall be able to identify skills required for future success in the job market,” stressed Prof. Banyankimbona.

Mr. Johannes Sperrfechter, BMZ Representative and Head of Regional Development Cooperation at the German Embassy, on behalf of the Ambassador, Dr Regine Hess, highlighted that “the German Government committed 2.5 milion EUR additional funds to the dSkills@EA project to strengthen its support and initiatives in the Master Programme, digital skills trainings, and entrepreneurship support”.

The Digital Skills for an Innovative East African Industry (dSkills@EA) Project is part of the technical development cooperation between the EAC and Germany implemented by GIZ. Its core objective is to strengthen employment and innovation-related digital skills of young people in all EAC Partner States. The project builds on its predecessor and continues to support the “Centre of Excellence for ICT in East Africa” (CENIT@EA) by further improving the quality and sustainability of the Master’s Programme “Embedded and Mobile Systems” (MSc EMoS). The project’s other interventions include demand-driven digital skills trainings, and entrepreneurship and innovation support.

The dSkills@EA project supported the implementation of the 12th APPPF 2023 including supporting CENIT@EA students to exhibit their innovations at the forum. The High-Level Partners’ Breakfast held on the side-lines of the 12th APPPF also saw the signing of a new implementation agreement between the project and its main implementing partner IUCEA. The new implementation agreement will see additional support worth 2.5 million EUR to and through IUCEA for the successful implementation of the project’s objectives and activities.


The APPPF is a biennial forum that brings together universities, technical and vocational colleges, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and private sector to deliberate on how to foster joint dialogue and enhance the linkage between the private sector and higher education institutions, as well as government institutions. This year’s forum was organised by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) in partnership with the German Cooperation, through GIZ, the East African Business Council (EABC) and Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU).

Find more information on dSkills@EA here.