NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 25 – Avic International Holding Corporation plans to increase its investments in Kenya’s technical education sector in a bid to improve the technical field labour pool.
The firm said their plan to equip over 135 technical and vocational institutions with machinery is on course and will see Kenya’s manufacturing sector revived in the future.
The firm’s Vice President Liu Jun says the move will raise the standards of technical training Institutes in Kenya.
“Through improving the technical education sector we have been upgrading the practical skills of students pursuing technical courses in Kenya to meet the needs of the country in its growth and industrialization. Kenya and Africa as a whole presents a very good opportunity for us to exploit the potential of these two countries and we are always happy to be part of this journey,” Liu said.
The firm in March this year offered Kenya a Sh28 billion concessionary loan to equip laboratories of 135 technical and vocational institutions with Chinese machinery in mechanical fields, electrical, lathe machining, rapid prototyping and computer numerical control.
This is the second phase of the programme that aims to drive the country’s agenda of industrialising by 2030 for growth and wealth creation.
The first phase, which started in 2013, involved 10 learning institutions and 15,000 students at a cost of Sh3.3 billion ($33 million) including the Technical University of Kenya (TUK) in Nairobi.
Liu was speaking in Nairobi during the launch of the third edition of the Africa Tech Challenge dubbed “Made in Kenya” which brought together students from Zambia, Uganda, Ghana and Kenya who will compete to come up with the most innovations.
The Made in Kenya programme aims to enlarge Kenya’s portfolio of finished goods that are manufactured locally and strengthen its balance of trade.
Manufacturing’s contribution to the GDP has stagnated at 11 per cent in the past 10 years owing to the slow growth of the sector.
Speaking during the Ceremony, Deputy President William Ruto reiterated the government’s commitment in rising the standards of technical training Institutes in Kenya
“As a country, we have made tremendous steps in trying to integrate technical education to be in line with our overall education goals. I wish to urge the relevant stakeholders to continue putting in more efforts in appreciating the role that these people play in the economic development of our country”, Ruto said.
Kenya plans to develop several industrial parks in its coastal towns and around geothermal fields in Naivasha and Nakuru to spur growth.
This will require a large pool of technical manpower.
In 2015, Kenya’s manufactured exports fell 20.3 percent, its horticulture exports declined 5.5 percent, and its chemical exports fell 7.9 percent.