NAIROBI, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese company, AVIC International's initiated and sponsored Africa Technology Challenge (ATC) Season 7 has awarded African students who emerged winners of the contest.
The seventh season of ATC which began in July drew 259 young people in 65 teams from six African nations who were trained and certified in the reading and drafting of construction drawings.
Ezekiel Machogu, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Education said Kenya supports the ATC because it is a vehicle for raising awareness and enlightening students about the multiplicity of opportunities that may arise from improving skills development.
"The ATC affirms Kenya's belief that instilling technological skills in our youth is the key to spurring our country to progress and prosperity," Machogu said on Tuesday evening in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya during an event co-organized by AVIC International and the ministry of education.
The ATC which is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) youth empowerment project by the AVIC International was launched in June 2014 and ran six seasons up until the year 2019 when it was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Machogu said that Kenya is keen to collaborate with the AVIC to broaden the ATC competition to add other disciplines because the economy requires more skilled workers.
"The ATC is an important tool to all of us because it raises the profile and acceptance of technical skills," he observed.
The Kenyan official noted that Kenya will continue to work with the AVIC International to seek solutions that can address the country's priority targets, including food security, universal health care, manufacturing, and infrastructure.
He said that initiatives like ATC are a great opportunity for businesses, manufacturers, and the private sector to enhance their opportunities for prosperity because they create a significant solution for enterprises in the face of a highly competitive business environment.
Machogu noted that China and Kenya have enjoyed cordial relations for many years now and almost every sector of Kenya's economy has been positively influenced by the Asian nation.
Xu Fei, Vice-President of AVIC International Project Engineering Company said that AVIC has so far trained 960 students from ten countries, and as a result, nine institutions were awarded production orders amounting to 500,000 U.S. dollars.
Xu reaffirmed that the ATC will run for several additional seasons.
He observed that due to the current need for large-scale investments in technical skills in Africa, the AVIC is committed to supporting skills development and capacity building through various development and cooperation programs.
Xu revealed that the AVIC has implemented numerous Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET) projects in many countries all over the world, especially in the African continent.
He noted that the experience gained by AVIC places it in a very unique position to collaborate with African governments to build TVET capacity through the construction or the upgrading of the colleges as well as the capacity building of their staff.
Zhou Meifen, Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya said that ATC is based on skills training and practical knowledge transfer and aims to improve the youth's technical skills through training and competition as a way of reducing unemployment in Kenya and the rest of Africa.
Zhou said that China will continue to support such kinds of training and competitions in Africa for the betterment of the young people in Africa and future cooperation between China and Africa.
Diana Busingye of Uganda took first place in the individual category and told Xinhua that ATC was a rewarding contest because it built her skills in the drafting of drawings for use in the construction sector.
The 24-year-old Busingye, who is pursuing a civil engineering degree at the Luyanzi Institute of Technology of Uganda and was awarded a scholarship to study in China said that her secret of success was extensive reading as well as listening to her instructors.
Sean Brown who emerged third overall in the individual category attributed his excellent performance to hard work and constituency.
The 18-year-old diploma student at the Northern Technical College of Zambia who was also awarded a scholarship to study in China noted that during the contest he learned how to use Chinese software for technical drawing which is very simple and friendly even for inexperienced students. ■