Arusha — The East African Community (EAC) says member states have not been investing enough in innovation and skills development.

EAC secretary-general Liberat Mfumukeko said yesterday that the region has not allocated adequate funds to nurture talents that will drive the technological revolution and industrial development.

“The EAC is deemed to be the fastest-growing bloc in the world. But we are very far behind in grooming talents,” he told the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS).

He, however, added that the regional body has lately engaged some local universities in providing specialised and high tech training to the young innovators.

Mr Mfumukeko said the process was largely funded by development partners as was the creation of centres of excellence, now spread out across the six-nation bloc.

“We need to invest enough in innovation to support our genius young people heavily with skills to drive our industrialisation agenda through the relevant technologies.”

The summit has been organised by the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) and the East African Business Council (EABC).

It is taking place alongside with a technology exhibition by firms and innovators from around the region. The exhibition is aimed to showcase the relevant industrial technologies.

These include emerging technologies which characterise the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).