The Arusha-based, East African Business Council (EABC) has joined hands with the Kampala-based Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) in organizing a forum aimed at linking higher education skills with the needs and demands of business institutions in the region. "The forum, to be held in Arusha next October, is meant to bridge the gap between education providers and the employers in the region and we envisage to eventually come up with special curriculum to address the requirements of the job markets in the five EAC member states," said Prof Mayunga Nkunya, the Executive Secretary of the IUCEA. According to the Don, for years now the products from local universities have been failing to perform as expected once they enter the local job markets forcing the employers, who are essentially investors and business people, to train them afresh or even worse to replace them with expatriates from overseas. Speaking in Arusha, both Prof Nkunya and the EABC Executive Director Ms Agatha Nderitu revealed that the EABC-IUEAC Forum will be taking place between 24th and 26th October 2012. To be held in Arusha, the forum will run under the theme, 'Linking Universities to Industry for Building Knowledge-based Economies and Regional Integration in East Africa!' "The forum will provide the point of connection between knowledge generation and dissemination by higher education institutions to the business community. It will also seek to integrate knowledge and human resource produced by universities into the productive, social and service sectors in the Community," added Ms Nderitu. "For so long the cry in the region has been the irrelevance of the subjects taught in universities and just the outright unsuitability of graduates from the universities for jobs with the business and private sector," pointed out the EABC head. On his part the IUCEA official, Prof Nkunya said the over 500 participants have confirmed their attendance and it is hoped that they will strategize on how to develop effective Higher Education systems in East Africa that is linked to industry for the promotion of sustainable socio-economic development and regional integration for the region. According to Prof Mayunga Nkunya, Universities and Industry partnerships have long been recognized as critical interventions in fostering socio-economic development. "Unfortunately, in East Africa such partnerships are rather fluid or are completely non-existent. It is for this reason that IUCEA and EABC have taken the first step to mainstream partnership between the two areas; the academic and training world, and the workplace world." The East African Business Council acts as the voice of the Private Sector in East Africa, and is at the forefront of facilitating the participation of the Private Sector in driving the region's socio-economic development. The IUCEA, on the other hand, is a strategic institution of EAC responsible for human resources development and research. Both have planned to invite educational experts from Germany to come aid the two institutions to come up with proper curriculum for higher learning in order to shape up graduates so that the latter may fit well into job markets and perform as expected.