Today marked the launch of the second series of a CSR initiative by AVIC International Holdings Limited, The Africa Tech Challenge, a youth empowerment challenge which targets young Kenyans in the technical field. With the ideology of teaching one to fish rather than give them fish, it aims to improve the participants’ skill, thereby producing much needed skilled labour. Furthermore, it aims to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship so that young skilled people do not have to rely on others for employment and in turn increase employment opportunities in the sector.
In this series of the Africa Tech challenge, they have introduced a Mobile App Challenge which is designed for all young Kenyans who have undertaken IT courses and have basic knowledge on Technology. This will take place at Kenya Technical Training College from July 27th and goes on for 12 days. Participants are required to develop a web-based application following the guidelines that will be offered to them. The winner of this challenge will get USD 5000 plus access to GearBox incubator for 6 months for free. Maggie Xiaomin Wu, a strategy fellow from Grameen Foundation while representing Gearbox said that other than just offering the incubation space, they will also offer assistance to the winner in order to commercially produce their product. USD 2000 and USD 1000 will be awarded to the second and third place holder respectively.
The chief representative of AVIC International in East Africa Mr. Si Yanxuan brought out the long standing relationship between Kenya and their company. AVIC International provides products to the Kenyan military, provides equipment to many government organizations including KRA and has investments in the construction industry, specifically Terminal 4 and parking building at JKIA plus 2 Rivers shopping mall. He applauded AVIC International for this new partnership with Kenya geared towards youth empowerment and employment creation. “Kenya has a great dream to become a middle developed country by 2030 and we want to help Kenya achieve this dream in the shortest time possible”, said Mr. Yanxuan.
Sakaja Johnson, TNA chairman, appreciated AVIC’s consistency in empowering the youth. He described Kenya as a “hub for innovation” and that AVIC have chosen the right demographic, the youth, to empower and equip with the necessary skills. He added that empowering youth was not only a favor to the youth, but also an investment in the country.
Winners of the Africa Tech Challenge will get a commercial contract of $100,000 as start-up capital for their product production. Furthermore, they will get a scholarship to Master in Mechanical Engineering in top universities in China. Recognized certificates and monetary awards are also presented to the winners.
Permanent secretary, Ministry of ICT, Mr. Joseph Tiampati recognized that ICT is a major contributor to economic growth in the country and appreciates the shift toward innovation. He appealed to the private sector to engage in such initiatives as empowering the youth offers a solution to the unemployment issue that plagues our country.
In the third series of this competition, Africa Tech Challenge aims to reach out to greater East Africa in a move to empower more young people. This is a wonderful opportunity for the young people in Kenya as it shows that one can dream bigger than getting a white collar job!