1. Creating an enabling environment for businesses to foster industrialization, innovation and investment in the EAC
2. Towards a single EAC Investment destination
3. Designing Innovative Strategies for Growth and Investment in the EAC



Information Communication Technology (ICT)
The role of ICT in driving EAC regional integration  
Both the public and the private sector in the EAC region have prioritized usage and application of Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools and applications. The EAC Partner States have been investing in ICT infrastructure to promote connectivity and increase efficiency. However, there is an urgent need to harmonize regulations for the sector and to open the virtual space in the region.


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This session will analyze among others; why digitalizing East Africa is an important aspect in regional integration, why companies decide to outsource business processes and services to other regions and addressing existing gaps in the East Africa's ICT sector The growing use of and demand for ICT solutions, such as online services, mobile banking, automated manufacturing, smart Apps and devices (Internet of Things), teleconferencing, tracking systems, security, data capture and processing offers countless opportunities for investment cutting across all areas of business.
Only a liberalized framework will allow to exploit the full potential of the technical innovations in the region and make it competitive in the global environment


Target group:  Software companies-, app-developers, mobile service providers, online-businesses, government agencies dealing with ICT-, other service providers (insurance, finance, logistics, manufacturing, medical, innovation centers, research institutes, labs and Universities, Ministries of Communication and Technology.



“From subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture”

East Africa has a huge untapped agricultural potential with the majority of East African citizens  directly or indirectly involved in agriculture. Sustainable intensification, an approach to agricultural production which is about maintaining high productivity without impoverishing soils and other ecosystem services, is often mentioned as a way to unfold East Africa’s agricultural potential.


Transforming East Africa’s smallholder farmers from subsistence to commercialization would require more than just a new approach to farming. Extension services, technology transfers to rural areas and access to markets are suggested as methods for creating commercial farms.  Other areas of support would be improving access to finance for (agro-) SMEs as one of the best enablers for inclusive economic transformation taking into consideration the specific characteristics of the sector like seasonality, price fluctuations and climate disruptions.


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This session will highlight some technical innovations but will also demonstrate and showcase, why food must be able to move from access to deficit areas within the region.  By allowing for more trade in staple foods within the EAC, Partner States can tackle food security as a regional issue. They need to create policies that allow an appropriate balancing of demand and offer within the common market. Only then subsistence agriculture can be transformed into real agri-business and will allow investors to take full advantage of the technical innovations.


Target group:  Agribusiness experts, Ministries of Agriculture,Regional bodies on farming,  International bodies responsible for Agriculture (FAO), Food security experts, Development Partners dealing with agriculture and agribusiness, agro processors, Food boards, Ministries of Trade


Urbanization and Sustainable Development Goals
Smart Investment in “Smart Cities” 
Some of the cities of the EAC Partner States are among the fastest growing urban centers in the world   which opens up a wide range of investment opportunities. This must go in line with Sustainable Development Goal 11 on “Sustainable Cities & Communities”.'

The highest potential lies in the areas of energy- water- and waste management, traffic and transport solutions, housing and security. Smart cities need technical and social innovation to become inclusive, prosperous, safe, resilient and sustainable. Only well-managed cities and other human settlements can be incubators for ingenuity and can become key drivers of industrialization and sustainable development.


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his session aims at highlighting some of the innovative approaches in urban planning that some of the cities in the EAC currently implement. It provides a stage to exchange experiences, best practice and lessons learned within the region in order to demonstrate the amount of local expertise and capacity that is still to be utilized to full extend.

The session will also showcase how to upgrade the energy infrastructure with innovative technologies in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 7  on “Affordable and Clean Energy”.


Target group: Construction companies, urban planners, architects, engineers, project developers, national housing corporations, Investment Promotion Agencies, renewable energy companies, utilities (water and energy), municipalities, real estate investors, special zones-representatives, traffic- public transport operators (“DART”), Climate change agencies, climate change experts, Ministries of Energy, Infrastructure, Water and Transport, Ministries of Social Affairs, Regulatory Authorities.





Cotton and Textile
 Creating synergies between the local Cotton and Textile Industry to the untapped markets of the region
During the EAC Heads of State Summit that took place on the 2nd of March 2016, the leaders of the EAC Partner States gave a directive to progressively phase out importation of used clothes and footwear (mitumba) and further directed the Partner States to procure their textiles from within the region in order to strengthen the local textile industry.

This move by the Heads of State is aimed at developing the entire value chain of Cotton Textiles and Apparels (CTA) for job creation and the economic growth of the region.

Amidst this initiative, consumers are still hesitant to buy and wear locally produced garments. At the same time, the African fashion and design industry, has moved into the spotlight on the international market. Traditional materials and crafts have not only inspired fashion but also aesthetic accessories and interior designs.


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This session will link the regional cotton, apparel and textile-industry with local distributors and suppliers, creatives and fashion designers to come up with solutions of how to promote textiles and apparels  that attract regional  consumers. It aims at initiating policies that encourage the people of East Africa to proudly consume local products. This will not only strengthen the creation of local value chains in this specific sector but will also have positive effects on consumer awareness concerning local content.


Target Group: Textile manufacturers, Cotton Development Agencies, textile, suppliers of raw materials and ingredients in the cotton value chain, distributors, Ministries of Trade in the EAC, fashion designers (Apparel).


Patents and Copyrights in the Creative Industry
Relevance of the creative industry for social economic growth in the EAC
Creative Industry is considered one of the fastest growing sectors in the global economy and already contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of many developed and developing countries. The law on intellectual property is meant to protect creations of the human intellect. These creations include inventions that qualify for patent protection; artistic works; logos, names and product designs used in commerce; and trade secrets. Intellectual Property is a critical component in all aspects of human life from culture, biodiversity, health, agriculture, trade and economic development. It is an instrument for socio-economic development and impacts the competitiveness in the global market. Development of technology takes place within the legal framework of intellectual property rights (IPRs).


This is why regional cooperation in intellectual property issues is of highest importance to both developing and least developed countries. Most goods containing trademarks, patented products, music and artistic works do not respect national boundaries. A single country’s intellectual property regime cannot deal with IP issues related to physical and digital cross-border trade. This by itself necessitates a system hereby countries adopt mutual recognition and enforcement of their citizens IP rights.


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Still highly informal, the creative sector in East Africa offers tremendous opportunities for investment and employment but at the same time is affected and concerned by a number of challenges  that are subject to regional policies and long for market liberalization.

The session will focus on the need of a regional framework that will help to improve the enforcement of intellectual property,patent- and copy-rights and allow free movement of people and services. It will also provide guidance on how to improve the business environment for creatives in terms of practical challenges in day-to day operations.


Target Group:,  Government Agencies that Regulate IPRs, media practitioners, graphic designers, film makers, musicians, artists, marketing experts, associations, Ministries responsible for Creative Industry, Ministries of Trade, WIPO.


Trade and Gender
 Scaling up the role of women entrepreneurs in EAC regional trade

Women play a key role in East African trade and could contribute further towards boosting trade in the region by taking advantage of opportunities to use trade as a driver of growth, employment and poverty reduction.


However, non-tariff barriers and other challenges related to women’s unequal status in society impede trade activities undertaken by women, often leading to women traders and producers not having the means to enter the formal economy. Because women experience trade barriers differently from men, gender sensitive policies can assists female importers and exporters to reap the same benefits from regional integration as their male counterparts. Yet policy makers typically overlook women’s contribution to trade and the challenges they face.



This session will seek to unlock the potentials of women contributions through innovation, entrepreneurship and investment for increased participation of women SMEs in EAC Regional Trade.


Target Group: Women entrepreneurs dealing in trade, manufacturing , Government SME departments, border agencies, trade experts etc.


Health Entrepreneurship:

“The role of the private sector in East Africa

At the end of this year 2017, the EAC Heads of State will meet to discuss frameworks to foster investment in Health Systems, Infrastructure, Health Services and Research.
Instead of travelling to Europe or Asia for treatment, patients will find more and more medical services offered within the region with new developments anticipated in the health sector. Efforts are being made to improve the accessibility and affordability of proper state-of-the-art health care in the region.
Policies need to be harmonized at EAC level in order to allow the suppliers full regional market access, individual countries must not be discriminated because of national bottle-necks - a current challenge especially for the local pharmaceutical industry.
This session will discuss issues faced by medical service providers that need to be addressed at a  regional level. It will also look for ways to push for the implementation of Art. 35 of the Common Market Protocol.


Still highly informal, the creative sector in East Africa offers tremendous opportunities for investment and employment but at the same time is affected and concerned by a number of challenges  that are subject to regional policies and long for market liberalization.


Target Group: private health care providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, Ministries of Health, Research Institutions, WHO



Increasing market access and optimizing business models through e-commerce.

With the growing integration of the East African market, companies all over the region are looking for ways to widen their market reach and become more productive and competitive. Online-platforms, e-commerce and mobile money help to reduce the cost of production, logistics and operation and have become instrumental and innovative tools for promoting industrialization and trade across the region.


Internet and mobile services allow even small and medium enterprises to reach out to a wide customer and supplier-base and also to link into value chains and existing sales channels. Others can profit from franchise models or find synergies in retail and business process outsourcing.


Even though internet based services are global, the EAC now needs to establish and strengthen frameworks that allow enterprises from the region to take full advantage of the existing  opportunities.
This session will look at the pros and cons of different business models for different sectors and highlight the potential for business partnerships and marketing within the region and beyond.


Target Group: start-ups, entrepreneurs, online- and mobile-service providers, trade platforms, marketing agencies, financial institutions, insurance companies, logistic service providers.


Banking and Finance

“Available Financing Opportunities for innovative projects”

Access to finance is a common challenge faced by entrepreneurs around the globe. Banks and investors look very critically at risk factors, that are often perceived to be higher in an African context. This is where insurances need to step in.


In order to foster regional investment, these services need to take the EAC Common Market and it’s provisions into perspective. Policy makers need to push for  harmonization to allow easy access to money throughout the region and across borders.


In order to harness the full potential of the entrepreneurs in the highlighted sectors, a free and smooth movement of services within the EAC region is essential.


This session will demonstrate the benefits of liberalizing the banking, finance and insurance sector; the potential impact of market liberalization and access to finance in a regional context.


Target Group: start-ups, entrepreneurs, online- and mobile-service providers, trade platforms, marketing agencies, financial institutions, insurance companies, logistic service providers.

“Start-up Corner”:
The role and potential of Hubs, Labs, Incubators & Centres of Excellence

Many companies, organizations, foundations and government institutions run individual mentoring-platforms or have launched incubator-initiatives. Technical and Cultural hubs, labs, think-tanks, research institutions and centers of excellence attract creative minds and provide an excellent and most efficient environment to support start-ups amplify the innovation potential of entrepreneurs in the region.

This session will compare the different concepts and approaches from open work space and mentorship to research and development. It will help entrepreneurs to get a better picture of the opportunities and available support schemes and encourage the managers of those hubs and labs to exchange their experiences, learn from each other and build networks.

It will also give policy makers a tangible idea of the need and requested angles for policies that promote especially private sector initiatives in the region.



Target Group: start-ups, entrepreneurs, online- and mobile-service providers, trade platforms, marketing agencies, financial institutions, insurance companies, logistic service providers.