The Star (Nairobi)

31 July 2014

Kenya Could Soon Start Making Machine Parts for Export

KENYA could soon start manufacturing parts of machines for export.

This follows the launch of the inaugural competition for technical training institutions students who will undergo two weeks training at the Technical University of Kenya.

The project aims to achieve Kenya's Vision 2030 goal while at the same time empowering the youth by facilitating self employment.

The platform also seeks to reform Kenya's education system to emphasise on the practical learning and embrace technical skills development.

The platform was launched by China's AVIC international Holding Corporation and the ministry of Education, Science and Technology who partnered with China House and the Technical University of Kenya.

AVIC together with the ministry has supplied, installed and commissioned electrical and electronic engineering equipment to Tivet institutions.

A total of 54 students were selected for the two-week Africa tech challenge from technical institutions across the country.

Speaking during the official opening ceremony, Samuel Wanyonyi from the directorate of the technical education said the Chinese government is supplying the country with state-of-the-art equipment.

"We have a contract with the Chinese government to equip our learning institutions with industrial, mechanical and prototyping and the first phase has been delivered. This training as well as competition will ensure that the products our students are producing are up to the standards required by the market to attract companies and industries to give students contracts," he said.

The equipment is part of the first phase.

Wanyonyi said detailed applications forms were sent to all technical training institutions. Students were supposed to detail their entrepreneurial proposals which were subjected to Chinese experts for analysis and selection. Wanyonyi said the only way to ensure that the state-of-the-art equipment supplied by China are fully utilized is to use them to train young people so that they produce their own products.

The competition will see winners bag Sh8.7 million contract to start producing equipment.

Each institution is represented by three students and 18 advisers.

Participants are drawn from Kabete Technical Training Institute, Nairobi TTI, Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology, Mawego TTI, Sigalagala Polytechnic, Shamberere TTI, Matili TTI, Rift Valley TTI, Kaiboi TTI, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Nyeri TTI, Meru TTI, Thika TTI, Kenya Technical Teachers College, University of Nairobi, Technical University of Kenya and Kenyatta University.

Project manager Bernard Isalambo said the concept is borrowed from China where technical institutions and polytechnics factories are attached to the institution.

He said the Public Private partnership Act 2012 enabled institutions to actively engage with industry.

Isalambo said vision 2030 envisages a middle level country that is able to manufacture some of the equipment.

"It is unfortunate that we are still buying almost everything such as bolts and nuts. We need our youth to manufacture some of these products that meet the international standards and students who will succeed will start production and this is how Vision 2030 will be actualized," Isalambo said.

He said the training focuses mainly on production of parts of machines such as bearings that meet international standards.

"Students who will succeed to meet the Chinese standard will have met the international standard and will start producing," Isalambo said.

So far, about 92 mechanical engineering machines have been installed in the Technical University of Kenya.

Isalambo said Kenya being strategically placed is set to reap a lot from the ongoing integration of the East African countries.

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