Kenya, Tanzania colleges win China tech contracts

Monday September 16 2019

Africa Tech Challenge.

Africa Tech Challenge winners pose with their certificates after the season six award ceremony at Radisson Blu Hotel in Kenya's capital Nairobi on September 5, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

FAITH NYAMAI
By FAITH NYAMAI
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Tanzania and Kenya raised the region’s banner high at this year’s Africa Tech Challenge held in Nairobi, scooping manufacturing contracts and scholarships.

In the competition, technical and vocational education institutions from the two neighbours saw off contestants from Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Zambia to take home more than $100,000 in contracts and several scholarships.

In the group award, Kenya, Tanzania and Gabon won the first three places. Ghana team was named the most engaging team.

Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology in Tanzania and Meru Technical College from Kenya won $50,000 contract each to produce and export “Made in Africa” parts to China. They will work with Chinese firm Avic International, who doubled as co-organisers of the competition in partnership with the Ministry of Education.

Kenya’s Industry Principal Secretary Betty Maina argued for skills that would enhance value addition and promote locally produced goods.

“It is crucial to forge partnerships with organisations such as AVIC to channel resources towards developing our human capital,” she said.

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SCHOLARSHIPS

Students Apollo Godwin and Christopher Mbembela from Dar es Salaam and Oscar Kimathi Kithinji from Meru were each awarded full scholarships to study in China.

Kenya Technical Training College, Kabete National Polytechnic and Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology did not leave empty handed as they each received the Jin Yetao Scholarship worth $5,000. These scholarships will support 15 outstanding students in Kenya’s vocational colleges.

The Jin Yetao Scholarship was launched in April in memory of Avic international chief executive Jin Yetao who died in the April Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people plan crash. Flight ET301 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed near Bishoftu, killing all passengers and crew.

The competition was aimed at skills that would help in achieving Africa’s development agenda.

“Over 650 participants have received training, with 91 receiving a total of $51,500 in cash rewards,” said Dr Kevit Desai, Principal Secretary for Vocational and Technical Training, Ministry of Education.

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