Nairobi — Kenya is committed to strengthening partnership with China in a bid to build a critical mass of highly skilled youth who can propel the country's industrial transformation agenda, senior officials said on Tuesday evening.
The officials who spoke during an award ceremony for winners of season four of Africa Tech Challenge (ATC) sponsored by Chinese firm, AVIC International, proposed enhanced ties with China to promote youth empowerment through skills and knowledge transfer.
Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Education, noted that a partnership with Chinese firms has revolutionized skills development targeting Kenya's burgeoning youthful population.
"Initiatives like Africa Tech Challenge provide opportunities for youth to participate in manufacturing sector while enhancing their entrepreneur skills," Mohamed remarked.
Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, and senior executives from AVIC International joined Kenyan officials to witness the award of certificate of recognition to participants who excelled at ATC season four.
The 2017 edition of ATC which focused on skills development in carpentry, brick laying and steel works attracted 103 youthful participants countrywide.
AVIC International promised to employ 25 youth who demonstrated outstanding competence in the three construction based skills.
Mohamed said Kenya has reached out to bilateral partners like China in its quest to revamp technical and vocational training programs that are key to alleviating youth unemployment.
Speaking during the occasion, Liu said Beijing has placed skills development for the youth at the heart of its bilateral ties with Kenya.
"We encourage more Chinese companies to create win-win outcomes through transferring technology and know-how among the youth in Kenya. We continue to place emphasis on skills development," said the ambassador.
"The Africa Tech Challenge that we are here to celebrate, is one such initiative that is an important driver of economic development as it inspires solutions to challenges inherent in the national economy that require multidisciplinary application of science and technology," he added.
Chinese firms have partnered with Kenyan institutions to improve technical and entrepreneur skills of the country's youth grappling with high unemployment rate estimated at 40 percent.
Liu Jun, the Executive Vice President of AVIC International Holding Corporation, noted that the Africa Tech Challenge has enabled Kenyan youth to become part of their country's quest to become an industrial hub.
"We not only believe and understand the power of the youth to drive the industrialization of Kenya in line with Vision 2030 goals, but we work to ensure that they are well trained and equipped with the necessary skills to do so," said Liu Jun.
He hailed a manufacturing contract signed between AVIC International and Technical University of Kenya worth 100,000 U.S. dollars, saying it will contribute to the attainment of President Uhuru Kenyatta's transformation agenda.