Heading for Innovation and Industrialization in the EAC: EABC Conference & Exhibition 2017

The second edition of the East African Business and Entrepreneurship Conference and Exhibition themed “Accelerating Industrialization, Innovation and Investment in the EAC“ was officially opened by H.E Samia Suluhu Hassan, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania at Serena Hotel, Dar es Salaam. The IIDEA team and our project partners represent approaches of innovation for deepening regional integration with a special focus on the role of women entrepreneurs.

The East African Business and Entrepreneurship Conference and Exhibition, an annual event rotating in all Partner States of the East African Community aims at providing an opportunity for business to business (B2B) and government to business (B2G) engagement. It is a platform for financiers and innovators to strengthen entrepreneurship in the EAC, a regional one stop center for investment and trade opportunities. The three-day conference brings together high-level government and private sector decision makers from the EAC Partner States as well as entrepreneurs and investors from the region and abroad.

The vice president visiting the IIDEA exhibition booth

This year, a unique mix of creative people from diverse entrepreneurial sectors have been invited to encourage an innovative exchange of experiences and views from different angles and backgrounds and inspire to “think out of the box”. The approach of “design thinking” aimed at reflecting on the cross cutting issues in regards to the implementation of the common market protocol and promoting regional integration by referring to the common cultural identity. The simultaneous exhibition gives participants the possibility to present themselves and serve as points of contact for their organizations and businesses. Also IIDEA is showcasing their work as an Incubator for the EAC – Senior Advisor Joyce got the chance to interest the Vice President of the Republic of Tanzania in the IIDEA-programme.


The opening of the conference and the first day already attracted a whole crowd full of business men and women and investors. With the first four plenary sessions on deepening regional integration in the EAC: the role of the private sector, creating an enabling environment for business to foster industrialization, innovation and investment in the EAC, towards a single EAC Investment destination and introduction of the DEG Project “German Desk-Financial Support and Solutions set the tone for the coming conference and exhibition days.

The IIDEA partners not only exhibit and showcase their work, but were also invited to speak and actively engage in different panel sessions:

Gender and Trade Panelists: Laura Akunga, Gudula Basaza, Julia Lipowiecka, Jessie Kalisa Umutoni and Agatha Nderitu

Julia Lipowiecka from Sauti shared her experience in providing access to trade and market information for small-scale woman cross-border traders within the session “Scaling up the contribution of women entrepreneurs in the regional and international trade”. In finding recommendations when it comes to trade and gender the session chair cheers on the audience to get up, go out and stand up for yourself. Bringing different initiatives together and linking various platforms, the importance of information and communication technologies is greatly acknowledged.

Ayeta Wangusa, the director of CDEA – Culture and Development in East Africa is one of the panelists for the creative industry session focusing on patents and copy rights.

The input of Chrispinius Onyancha from creativeDNA with their project clinicPesa is highly stimulating when it comes to health entrepreneurship. In this session the panelists discuss the role of the private sector in East Africa in the field of health. clinicPesa innovatively merges health, technology and entrepreneurship.

Finally Joyce Kevin Abalo Kimaro has the honor of representing IIDEA in the closing panel session and its role in promoting and connecting hubs, labs and Start-Ups in the EAC and incubating innovation-led solutions for sustainable and tangible regional integration.

Participants of the "Scaling up the contribution of women entrepreneurs in the regional and international trade" session

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