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Experts meet in Kenya to reduce skills gaps in East Africa

Saturday May 18, 2024

Yohana Mawaka with his  project.
Photo: Faraja Goodluck

Experts convened in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Friday to discuss ways to address skills gaps in East Africa by strengthening ties between academia and industry.

The East Africa Private Sector Academia Forum, themed "Harnessing Technology and Innovation Transfer from Academia to Industry," drew over 100 participants from academia, the private sector and government officials from across the region. The event aimed to promote collaboration between academia and industry to drive digital innovation and skill development.

Gaspard Banyankimbona, executive secretary of the Inter-University Council of East Africa, an institution of the East African Community, said that tertiary institutions are keen to produce graduates with the relevant skills required by the private sector, which remains the largest employer in the region.

"Tertiary institutions in the region should realign their curriculum to train students based on the evolving needs of the private sector," Banyankimbona said.

He also called for upskilling professionals through collaboration between the private sector and academia to strengthen employment and innovation-related digital skills among East African youth.

John Bosco Kalisa, chief executive officer of the East African Business Council, the umbrella body of the private sector in East Africa, said that the business community is ready to invest in research and development in collaboration with educational institutions to improve the region's labor productivity.

Educational institutes should concentrate on training students in areas with high demand in order to tackle the skills mismatch problem as well as the region's high unemployment rate, he added.


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