In December 2018, the East Africa Development Forum was launched in Istanbul under the theme ‘Turkish-Somali Partnership: Stepping Forward.’ The East Africa Development Forum is an annual platform hosted by East the Africa Association for Research and Development. It is a multi-stakeholder platform for gathering renowned academicians, policymakers, civil society leaders, businesses, researchers and analysts from East Africa and around the world to debate and discuss the contemporary issues of East Africa.
The aim was to showcase current and future challenges and opportunities in the region and alternative ways in which the immense resources of the region can be utilized effectively through economic integration, trade, poverty reduction and peaceful relations between nations of the region. The forum also displays policy recommendations for institution building, good governance, youth empowerment and protection of human rights.
To achieve the above-mentioned goals, the forum brings together hundreds of key individuals who are involved in the region such as heads of state, ministers, non-governmental organization heads, diplomats and others. This year, the forum invited Turkish government officials as Turkey constitutes one of the main Somali partners on development and state-building. Furthermore, many representatives of Somali universities, civil society organizations, health workers and businessmen attended the forum.
East Africa Association for Research and Development (Doğu Afrika Araştırma ve Kalkınma Derneği – DAD), the organizing institution of the forum, was established on May 22, 2017, by a group of East African academicians, civil society leaders and students who graduated from Turkish universities in the Fatih District of Istanbul.