CENIT@EA was initiated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the East African Community (EAC) and launched in 2019 to support East African universities to provide the technical skills that meet the needs of the private sector, public sector and civil society stakeholders in the region.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implements the project on behalf of BMZ in cooperation with the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as implementing partners as well as an academic consortium, including the host university of the Centre, the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), and the project academic coordinator University of Oldenburg (UOL), with its partners the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), the University of Technology and Arts Byumba (UTAB), the University of Applied Sciences Mannheim, the University of Applied Sciences Berlin (HTW), and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Both the EAC’s Vision 2050 and the development strategies of the EAC Member States make specific reference to the cross-sectoral significance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for socio-economic development in the EAC. Five of the six EAC Member States (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) have submitted national ICT strategies and list the development of ICT as a priority in their national development strategies.

The leverage, that ICT offers for development in East Africa, is highly rated by many experts. The contribution of the Internet to the gross domestic product in African countries is expected to rise from 16% in 2012 to 50% in 2025. Identified areas of development in which the use of ICT is seen as having particular potential to stimulate economic growth include financial services, education, health, retail, agriculture and public administration. In this context, digital skills are increasingly becoming a core requirement in all sectors and are crucial to ensure a sustainable inclusive digital transformation in the region.

To ensure that the technical expertise is available in the region, CENIT@EA combines innovative research and international and regional academic collaboration with a serious commitment to produce solutions for industry, private sector and society.