The fourth Academia-Public-Private Partnership Forum 2015 kicked off in Entebbe on Wednesday with a renewed call for a more practical relationship between academia and private sector.
The Inter-university Council for East Africa (IUCEA), the East African Business Council (EABC) and the East African Development Bank (EADB) are jointly organising the event under the theme ‘Developing the Ideal Graduate through Academia-Public-Private Partnership.’
About 300 participants attended at this year’s forum that closed on Thursday
“Financing education should not only be left to governments. The private sector should play an active role in this,” said Dr. Richard Sezibera, the EAC Secretary General.
While elaborating on what an ideal graduate should look like, Sezibera observed that the trend of doing business had now changed, and called for concerted efforts in producing graduates that were able to compete in the new environment.
“It is good to see business people start to speak like professors and professors speaking like business people,” he added.
In his address via video link, former German President Dr. Horst Kohler highlighted that Africa needed meaningful growth that was based on creativity.
“There is need for governments to increasingly encourage young people to be entrepreneurs and a need for them to intensify the fight against corruption,” Kohler said.
“Although Africa is richly endowered with natural resources, the brains and perseverance of young people is the most important resource,” he continued.
The first such forum was held in Arusha, Tanzania, in October 2012. Kigali hosted the last edition in 2014.
Museveni commissions new IUCEA headquarters
Meanwhile, on Wednesday the IUCEA unveiled its new headquarters in Kampala.
The construction of the headquarters to accommodate all the regional body’s offices was financed through a USD 1.5million contribution from each of the EAC partner states.
In his speech delivered by Shem Bageine, the Ugandan minister of state for East African Community Affairs, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni highlighted that partnerships and the sharing of ideas has developed the region.
“The East African region has enormous resources including minerals, gas, and oil but lack the capacity to manage them appropriately for the benefit of our region,” he said.
“Those resources are exploited by foreign enterprises and transformed abroad and the final products are inaccessible to our poor population,” Museveni said
He called on the IUCEA to pursue efforts to provide relevant university programmes in partnership with the private sector.
IUCEA Executive Secretary Prof. Mayunga Nkunya commended the Ugandan government for having donated five acres of land for the construction of the building.