Nairobi. – Africa’s young and expanding working-age population has been identified as a force driving technological development on the continent, if properly harnessed. To remain competitive in the job market, it is crucial for African youth to acquire new technical skills as they are the continent’s most valuable asset, speakers at an event in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday to reward technology students said.
They spoke at the awards ceremony of the 7th Africa Science and Technology Challenge organized by Aviation Industry Corporation of China and the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi.
Speaking to attendees at the awards ceremony in the Kenyan capital, Zhou Meifen, cultural counselor at the Chinese embassy in Nairobi, said the competition was of great significance as it is a way to reduce unemployment through skills transfer.
She welcomed the program’s expansion to 248 institutions since its launch in 2014, covering 10 African countries. Zhou also pledged that the Chinese government would support an increase in the number of scholarships for students studying abroad in China.
The seventh edition of the Technology Challenge opened to 259 entrants from Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Egypt, Zambia and Zimbabwe, with the top six teams receiving numerous prizes. This year’s competition, titled “Innovation Without Limits,” focuses on the fast-growing construction industry, with a particular focus on design. 65 teams from 45 schools participated in the competition.
Xu Fei, vice president of AVIC East and Central Africa, said at the awards ceremony that the competition had made a comeback after the 2020/2021 season was interrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The training for this season is done online using the AVIC e-learning platform. After successfully completing the online training, participants will be offered an internship or a job interview. This is in addition to scholarships for further studies at top institutions in China,” Xu said .
He added that over the past six years, AVIC has devoted resources to providing African youth with basic skills for the modern job market through training and equipping technical institutions with the latest machines.
Kenyan Minister of Education Ezekiel Majogu expressed pride in the cooperation between the Kenyan Ministry of Education and the “African Science and Technology Challenge” project, and encouraged more Chinese companies to invest in training African youths to promote employment and entrepreneurship.
“The Africa Tech Challenge has played an important role in equipping our technical and vocational education and training institutions, which have started manufacturing spare parts for machines, some of which are exported to China,” Machogu said.
“We welcome more private sector players, including Chinese investors, to participate in projects such as the Africa Tech Challenge, which will not only create jobs but also equip our young people with the necessary skills to start businesses with the skills they acquire , and thus become an entrepreneur.”
The overall prize winner of this competition is Lu Yanzi Institute of Technology from Uganda. – China Daily Net