September 5th, 2023

Bridging the Digital Skills Gap in East Africa – 19 Young Professionals from Six EAC Partner States Graduate from CENIT@EA (GIZ)

Finding graduates from East African universities who meet industry demands is a time-consuming and costly endeavor for regional companies - especially in the digital skills ecosystem. In response to this challenge, the East African Community (EAC), in partnership with GIZ, launched the Centre of Excellence for ICT in East Africa (CENIT@EA) to strengthen the employability of young people from the EAC Partner States in the field of digital skills. The CENIT@EA, which is hosted at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), has been offering the demand-led Master of Science in Embedded and Mobile Systems (MSc EMoS) since 2019.

On 30 August, the joint EAC and GIZ dSkill@EA project achieved yet another significant milestone as 19 students from six EAC Partner States graduated with a Master’s in EMoS. The graduates are part of the 212 beneficiaries of the dSkills@EA fully-funded Master’s scholarships.

Speaking at the event, the new NM-AIST Vice Chancellor, Professor Maulilio Kipanyula, acknowledged the role played by the EAC and the German government in developing the capacities of young people. Tusekile Juma, a graduate from Tanzania, spoke about the uniqueness of the programme and noted: “This is not your usual Master’s programme. You gain practical experience and exposure from the industry and business, leading to tangible results. During her obligatory internship, she worked with Savings and Credit Cooperative Union League of Tanzania (SCCULT), the lead association for Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies (SACCOS) in Tanzania, in partnership with the German Sparkassenstiftung for International Cooperation (DSIK). There, Tusekile supported the development of a mobile application – “Kibubu", which is set to be launched this year. The app brings together all the SACCOS in Tanzania onto one platform to enable the sharing of information with members, stakeholders, and customers.

Graduate Mirreile Maniranzi from Burundi highlighted that she is already applying the gained skills back home, where there is still a gap in digital knowledge compared to other Partner States. According to her, the course has not only built her confidence, but also expanded her regional network and equipped her with valuable skills, including communication skills, an uncommon skill set among engineers and ICT professionals.

When asked about what makes the MSc EMoS Programme unique, Dr Devotha Nyambo, CENIT@EA outreach coordinator, stressed, “We connect our students with the industry in the region through internships where they tackle real-life challenges faced by organisations. This experience informs their final theses, and it is a practical bridge between academia, industry, and the students.”

Besides the Master's Programme, the EAC dSkills@EA project has trained over 257 university staff members in digital skills, as well as 215 business employees and unemployed graduates in the same field. It has also provided innovation platforms for young innovators across the region. Additionally, university staff members have been trained in intellectual property management and commercialisation of innovations to create a pipeline of projects that can be adopted by industries.

Find more information on dSkills@EA here.

For ICT graduates in the region, the call for application is running. Limited scholarships available. Find more information here.