On the occasion of their first meeting on 17 May 2021, H.E. the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Regine Hess, and the Hon. Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), Dr Peter Mathuki, signed the Government Agreement for the project “Digital Skills for an Innovative East African Industry” (dSkills@EA). Subsequently, GIZ and the EAC institution Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) signed the Implementation Agreement.

“During the past four years we were able to jointly create an impact for the region and promote digital skills and innovation. Together with our implementation partner IUCEA, the responsible departments of the EAC Secretariat, DAAD and the universities of the academic consortium, we made CENIT@EA a regional flagship for digital transformation”, highlighted Dr Mike Falke, Country Director, GIZ Tanzania and EAC, in his opening remarks at the follow-on two-days partner workshop that gathered eleven partners of the project for joint work planning meetings.

dSkills@EA builds on the results of the project’s first phase “Centre of Excellence for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in East Africa” (CENIT@EA) that was implemented from April 2017 to March 2021. The new phase further strengthens advanced digital skills and innovation capacities of especially young women and men from all six EAC Partner States (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda). Based on a strong industry-academia partnership, practice orientation and regional collaboration GIZ, the EAC Secretariat and IUCEA, together with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and an East African-German academic consortium, will continue to promote advanced digital skills and innovative digital solutions for the region’s digital transformation and economic development.

The project will run for three years until 31 March 2024. It continues to support the CENIT@EA, established at the Nelson Mandela African Institution for Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania, and its Master’s programme “Embedded and Mobile Systems”. Especially the involvement of companies in lectures, internships or mentoring programmes will be strengthened. Currently 96 students from all six EAC Partner States are enrolled in the programme in three cohorts. In addition, dSkills@EA expands on the digital skills trainings offered for unemployed graduates, university lecturers and private and public sector throughout the EAC, such as the “Digital Skills Accelerator”. The collaboration with the private sector, established through cooperation agreements with IBM, SAP or Kiira Motors and formats like “ICT4Business” will be further strengthened.

Furthermore, with dSkills@EA the young innovators and innovation hubs become a stronger role. While strengthening the Master’s programme and expanding the offer for trainings, the new focus on innovation transfer from university to the market and entrepreneurship at universities improves the digital innovation and entrepreneurship capacity of young East African students in the ideation. Measures will include mentoring, trainings, a regional network of innovation hubs and matchmaking, such as through the online matchmaking platform “Skillmatch”.

Contact: Evelyn Elliseus Rutazaha (evelyn.rutazaha@giz.de), Advisor dSkills@EA

Photo:  ©EACGIZ