East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 5h October, 2023: The East African Community (EAC) and the European Union (EU) have today kicked off the 1st EU-EAC Regional Conference on Digital Transformation in the East African Community, in Arusha, Tanzania. Both sides committed and agreed to foster a human-centric digital transformation in East Africa to utilise digital technologies and innovations for regional integration.

The two-day conference, facilitated by the Digital for Development (D4D) Hub, unites key stakeholders from the EAC region and European partners. This collaborative effort aims to assess the current state of digital transformation in the region and explore opportunities through a “Team Europe” initiative, which includes the EU and its Member States. The conference’s attendees include representatives from the EAC Secretariat and other EAC Institutions, ICT Ministries of EAC Partner States, the EU Delegation to Tanzania and the EAC, and EU Member States.

The D4D Hub serves as an important instrument for the EU and its Member States to support transformational projects across the African continent. This aligns harmoniously with the ambitious goals under the Global Gateway, a new strategy for the EU. The strategy aims to mobilise EUR 300 billion in investment to boost smart, clean, and secure links in digital, energy, and transport sectors and to strengthen health, education, and research systems across the world.

The conference identifies seven strategic areas of engagement, aligning with the priorities of the 6th EAC Development Strategy, which seeks to expedite digital transformation in East Africa. These areas include connectivity, data governance, e-governance/cybersecurity, e-commerce, information communication telecommunication regulations, digital innovation, and digital skills.

Based on these areas of engagement, a joint roadmap has been developed with the purpose of guiding the cooperation between EAC and Team Europe. Among the identified short-term actions are: a proposal to boost data economy across borders as well as benchmarking and project development of green and secure data centers (data governance); establishing comprehensive electronic cross-border health services (e-governance/cybersecurity); development of systems to facilitate a cross-border e-payment system (e-commerce).

In addition, the significance of the conference is further underscored by the simultaneous launch of the Digital Economy Package by the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, set for Nairobi on October 5, 2025. This event emphasises the EU’s commitment to digital transformation in East Africa, reaffirming its dedication to nurturing innovation and fostering connectivity within the region.

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