A solar-powered high-tech greenhouse, systems to stop electricity theft, and food supplements made from caterpillars are among twelve innovations shortlisted for the 2015/2016 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation by the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Also selected are mobile technologies which guide parents through pregnancy and connect heart patients to cardiologists, and a three-wheeled mini-tractor which doubles as a generator.
The Africa Prize, now in its second year, is Africa’s largest award dedicated to engineering innovation. It covers all engineering disciplines from mechanical, civil and computing to agricultural, biomedical, oil and gas, mining and electronics.
The twelve engineering entrepreneurs will be encouraged and supported to grow a business from their innovation through six months of training and money-can’t-buy mentoring from business development and engineering experts. An overall winner will be announced in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in May 2016. The winner will receive £25,000, with £10,000 awarded to two runners up.
Other innovations shortlisted for the Academy’s Africa Prize include a mechanical cassava harvester, bio-briquettes made from corn waste, a renewable energy micro-grid for rural areas, and software to help farmers analyse their soil.
“We see a massive benefit from engineering innovations designed specifically to meet local challenges,” said Malcolm Brinded CBE FREng, chair of the Africa Prize judging panel.
“We are thrilled to see so many innovations aimed at tackling the biggest problems faced by communities in developing regions, including access to energy, nutrition and healthcare. We look forward to supporting these 12 excellent entrepreneurs as they learn to commercialise and scale up their innovative ideas, and seek to grow profitable businesses which make a positive impact on many people’s lives.”
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation was established to celebrate innovation in Africa and highlight the importance of engineering as an enabler of improved quality of life and economic development. It is generously supported by the Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund, Consolidated Contractors Company, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Africa Prosperity Fund, ConocoPhillips and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.