Africa Tech Challenge kicks off in Nairobi

African innovators will battle it out to come up with the best tech idea at this year’s Africa Tech Challenge.

The showpiece organized by Chinese firm AVIC International in partnership with education ministries in Africa, seeks innovative solutions to challenges unique to Africa.

This is the sixth year of the challenge. AVIC International uses the event as part of a training programme to provide valuable manufacturing skills to African youth.

It entails commissioning, installing and equipping of public Technical Training Institutions with mechanical, electrical and electronic equipment.

Divine Bedzrah, along with his Ghana-based team, seek to enhance their knowledge in coding.

"We work with coding and I think if in just two weeks we are able to input a programme in the machine, then the programme is successful,” Bedzrah said during a workshop held at the Technical University of Kenya.

Bedzrah's is one of seven teams from across Africa who are taking part in this year's event. Kenya, Gabon, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Zambia and Uganda taking part in the sixth edition of the Africa Tech Challenge (ATC).

AVIC chief engineer Lei Biao said he had been impressed by the ideas and skills on display.

“There have been some challenges with the language barrier, but the trainees have come in in their free time and are doing very well,” he said.

At the end of the challenge, all participants will receive certificates which will help them land internships and job opportunities more easily.

The ATC five-week training will culminate in a competition that will see the top six teams walk away with cash prizes worth over Ksh1 million (US$9,600) while the top two teams will also be awarded manufacturing contracts worth US$96,000 dollars.

Many of the individual team members will also receive scholarships to some of the most prestigious universities in China.