October 5-6, 2023, Kampala, Uganda – The 2023 East Africa Regional Hub convening brought together 88 university executives, policymakers, administrators, and industry professionals representing 10 countries and 40 institutions. Under the theme, Accelerating Entrepreneurship and Graduate Employability, this event served as a vital platform for fostering collaboration, knowledge exchange, and meaningful interactions. 

In its second year running, the regional hub convening provides a shared platform for member and partner institutions across Eastern Africa to network, share information, and engage one another on various developmental levels.

“We are focused on deepening our engagement with our member institutions and other institutions at large, so that we can create the needed impact, and be able to improve and shape how we want our region and continent to develop,” shared Lizzie Chongoti, Director of the East Africa Hub, in her welcome address. 

Speaking on the theme, Professor John Mugisha, Vice Chancellor of Cavendish University, emphasized the role of higher education in shaping employment and entrepreneurship opportunities across the continent.

“In today’s rapidly evolving world, the dynamics of the job market are advancing at an unprecedented rate. This gathering underscores the critical role of education in driving economic growth and sustainable development,” he shared “As a community of educators, industry experts, and policymakers, it is imperative that we unite to explore innovative strategies, share best practices, and collaborate on solutions to empower our graduates in this dynamic landscape.” 

Over two days, participants delved into discussions centered around shaping employment and entrepreneurship ecosystems. The program featured a variety of activities, including workshops, networking sessions, panel conversations, and a symposium, all designed to facilitate shared learning and engagement. 

 “In light of recent global events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of AI, employability and entrepreneurship have become central topics of discussion,” remarked Mr. Douglas Opio, Executive Director of The Federation of Uganda Employers, during his keynote address. “Decent employment underscores one’s dignity, and employability and entrepreneurship provide the pathway for individuals to thrive as human beings.” 

Celebrating the Uganda Vice Chancellor’s Forum 
The convening also coincided with the 25th anniversary celebration of the Uganda Vice Chancellor’s Forum. This independent coalition of university leaders is committed to presenting a united voice, sharing valuable insights and practices, and advising the government on policies aimed at advancing university education. 

 “It couldn’t have been a better opportunity for The Education Collaborative to convene and connect with university leaders. All the represented universities, through their vice chancellors, have joined the collaborative,” shared Professor George Openjuru Ladaah, Chairperson of the group, during a joint cocktail event to mark the celebration. “Our mission is to bring together higher education institutions for mutual learning, innovation, and collaboration. It’s a simple, yet powerful mandate, and we aim to build bridges that facilitate meaningful engagement among university heads.” 

Also speaking at the event, Rose Dodd, Executive Director of the Education Collaborative, shared the value of partnerships and leveraging one another’s strengths to create across the continent.

 “Our common goal is to equip young people with the skills and knowledge they need to be employable and productive members of our societies,” shared Rose Dodd, Executive Director of The Education Collaborative.

“Influencing a system requires influencing the individuals who build and govern it. For lasting, sustainable change, we must encourage these individuals to work together to create and manage systems that function harmoniously. This is precisely what we aim to achieve through The Education Collaborative.” 

Since its inception in 2017, The Education Collaborative has engaged some 400 universities, introduced curriculum reforms, improved student services, and created new programs that have impacted learning outcomes for 195,000 students in Africa. Through the regional approach, The Collaborative drives context-relevant programs and solutions for higher-ed stakeholders in the region.