By Charles Were
Meru National Polytechnic emerged overall winners of Africa Tech Challenge (ATC) Season 6, after
weeks of intense training and competition which brought together participants from 8 African
countries in Nairobi.
Dubbed Dream and Invent Your Future, the sixth edition of Africa Tech Challenge which was
launched on 1 st August and aimed at skills development for advancement and realization of
Africa’s development agenda.
The participants underwent 5 weeks of training on Computer Numerical Control (CNC) and a
final week of competition to test their newly acquired skills.
Kenya, which sought to retain its record after having won the manufacturing contracts in the
previous seasons, was awarded part of the manufacturing contract through Meru polytechnic.
Meru National Polytechnic, the winners of the contract signed the deal worth Ksh. 5 million
with AVIC International while Tanzania’s Principle Education Officer, Mr. Fanuel Samuel
Mshana, signed the manufacturing deal worth Ksh. 5 million.
Mr. Jin Shaohua, VP AVIC International Holding Corporation of International Affairs stressed on
the importance of youth empowerment which has led to economic transformation and
enhancing the welfare of the youth.
AVIC International awarded 3 most outstanding students with full scholarships to study in
China. Kenya, was represented by Oscar Kimathi Kithinji, who emerged overall winner securing
his scholarship to be will be joined by Apollo Godwin of DIT Tanzania and Christopher
Mbembela, also from Tanzania.
Chief Guest, Dr Kevit Desai, PS, State Department for Vocational and Technical Training in the
Ministry of Education, expressed his pride at the success of the youth empowerment project
which is a partnership between AVIC International and the Ministry of Education.
“The competition has attracted colleges and Universities from Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Zambia,
Gabon, Ivory Coast among other countries, 7 of whom have previously received a production
order worth USD 400,000 from AVIC International” he said
Dr. Desai added that, over 650 participants received skills training, with 91 receiving a total of
USD 51, 500 in cash rewards, and 21 participants receiving an opportunity to study in China
fully sponsored by AVIC International. In addition, 45 trainees were offered internships and jobs
at AVIC International.
State Department for Industrialization, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Ps, Ms.
Betty Maina, PS, highlighted the Government’s focus on skills and capabilities development to
enhance value addition to domestically produce goods towards job creation and promotion of
‘Buy Kenya Build Kenya’ initiative.
She commended AVIC International for partnering with the Government in its youth
empowerment agenda, citing the ministry’s prioritized areas that will contribute to the growth
of the manufacturing sector.
Ms. Maina expressed, “Youth unemployment remains a major challenge for us as a developing
country and with the current demographic trends it will only become more critical. It is crucial
to forge partnerships with organizations such as AVIC to channel resources towards developing
our human capital. I applaud the role of AVIC in youth empowerment with technical skills and
The event also saw 3 institutions; Kenya Technical Trainers College, Kabete National Polytechnic
and Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology receive the Jin Yetao Scholarships worth Ksh.
500,000 each to advance technical training within the country. These scholarships will support
15 outstanding students in Kenya’s vocational colleges.
Mr. Jin Shaohua, underscored the company’s and ATCs aspirations to give back to Africa and
provide the African youth with the possibility of change. He also expressed his delight at the
cooperation between AVIC International and the EASTRIP project in ensuring ATC
Season 6 was a success.
“Together with our local partners, we have witnessed the transformation of the students who
have studied in China under ATC Sponsorship because of the skills they acquired during
training”, he continued
“We are also making efforts to invite China’s gold medal coaches in the recently concluded
‘Skills Olympics’ in Russia to provide on-site guidance to ATC, and are actively contacting the
Organizing Committee of the World Skills Competitions so as to discuss partnership
opportunities.” He added.
Present at the event was the Minister Counselor, Peoples Republic of China to Kenya, Mr. Zhao
Xiyuan and the World Bank’s Lead Education Specialist, EASTRIP regional team leader, Ms. Liang