The third AVIC Africa Tech Challenge, touted as Kenya’s premier technical challenge, was launched on 12 July in Nairobi. The Challenge will be conducted by AVIC International, a Chinese civic engineering firm, in partnership with Kenya's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Red Door Consultancy.

For the first two seasons, the challenge targeted students from tertiary institutions in Kenya that offered training in technical subjects and gave some of these students opportunities to compete in teams for prizes sponsored by AVIC International.

The 2016 season, whose theme is “Made in Kenya”, will involve 15 teams from Technical Training Institutions in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Ghana, who will undergo intensive technical training in preparation for the competition.

The Challenge aims to spur a culture of entrepreneurship among the youth by encouraging young people taking technical courses to utilize their capabilities and creativity in order to be self-reliant and create jobs.

ATC also aims to encourage more people to take technical courses in order to provide much needed skills that are being lost as a result of an emphasis on theoretical skills, as well as a lack of training capacity as polytechnics get converted and 'upgraded' to universities.

The Africa Tech Challenge will focus on two areas - a machining challenge and a mobile development challenge

The machining challenge will see participants use computer numerical control (CNC) and Manual Lathe machining techniques to manufacture a spare part using AVIC International's machines. The best team will be chosen based on the quality of the spare parts that they manufacture.

The mobile development challenge will see teams tasked with developing a mobile application of their choice. The apps will be subjected to tests and reviews by a panel of experts who will in turn determine the best three apps.

The teams are competing for cash rewards, internship opportunities, further training opportunities and scholarships to pursue higher education in China. The winning teams in each challenge will get KES 200,000 (US$2000) in cash, as well as full scholarships to Masters' Degree programmes in China.

“Since we first launched A.T.C in 2014, we have been training over 290 students with technical skills. We provide cash rewards, internship and full time working opportunities for outstanding groups and individuals” said Qian Rong Deputy President AVIC International.

The competition will take place at the Technical University of Kenya between July and September.

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