The African Innovation Foundation (AIF)announced the finalists of the prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2014.Ten African innovators have created practical solutions to some of the continent’s most intractable problems, from a domestic waste biogas system to a wafer matrix for paediatric antiretroviral (ARV) drug treatment. Chosen from almost 700
applications from 42 countries, the finalists for the IPA 2014 represent Africans’ potential to address the challenges that are unique to the continent.
The winners of the IPA 2014 will be announced at an awards ceremony on 5 May in Abuja, Nigeria, where keynote speaker,the Honourable Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Minister of finance, will highlight the importance of innovation to unlock Africa’s potential for sustainable development and economic growth. The winner will receive USD 100 000 for the best innovation based on marketability, originality, scalability, social impact and clear business potential. A runner up will receive USD 25 000 for the best commercial potential and another winner will receive USD 25 000 as a special prize for innovation with the highest social impact. Prior to the awards ceremony, a roundtable featuring innovation experts will take place, to address the theme “A Path to Building Industrial Nation Skillsets in Africa”.
“As global leaders gather for the 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa to discuss approaches to inclusive growth and job creation, the IPA 2014 innovators demonstrate that the best way to achieve equitable economic growth for all Africans is to invest in local innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, founder of the African Innovation
Foundation and the IPA.
The IPA 2014 finalists are:
. Ashley Uys (South Africa)
OculusID Impairment Screening
The OculusID Impairment Screening device is designed to measure pupil
response to light emissions. The pupil response can then be measured against
pre-determined benchmarks. These benchmarks are applied to measure substance
abuse, physiological defects and even fatigue. The device is a far less
invasive procedure than existing methods.
. Daniel Gitau Thairu (Kenya)
Domestic Waste Biogas System
The Domestic Waste Biogas System is a new type of biogas digester which
utilizes any material capable of decomposing instead of relying on animal
dung to generate gas. Materials that can be used include dirty water,
leftover food, spoiled grain, and vegetable and fruit peelings. This makes
biogas usable even by households that cannot afford animals.
. Elise Rasel Cloete (South Africa)
GMP Traceability Management Software CC
This software is programmed to capture, store and trace data about livestock
and enables data to be captured in real-time. The data is then stored in an
ear tag placed on livestock and backed up on a remote server.
. Joshua Okello (Kenya)
This innovation is a low-cost mobile phone based antenatal diagnosis kit
that captures foetal heart beat sounds and provides diagnosis which is sent
to the mother through SMS. The data can also be uploaded to cloud storage.
. Logou Minsob (Togo)
This is a device designed to replace the mortar and pestles used in
preparing the popular West African dish, foufou. The “FOUFOUMIX ” is a small
electrical food processor that allows generates discreet, quick and hygienic
foufou in 8 minutes, substantially reducing the amount of time needed to
prepare the dish, while also enhancing the hygienic conditions during
. Dr. Nicolaas Duneas (South Africa)
Altis Osteogenic Bone Matrix (Altis OBMT)
Altis OBM is the world’s first injectable bone-graft product containing a
complex mix of various bone growth compounds derived from porcine (pig). It
is used to stimulate the host’s own tissue regeneration system in a way that
leads to the healing of a fracture or bone void, much in the same way as
occurs in a normal unassisted fracture healing processes.
. Maman Abdou Kane (Niger)
Horticultural tele irrigation
The “Horticultural Tele-Irrigation system is a technological process that
allows growers to remotely control their market garden irrigation system
through a mobile or landline regardless of geographic location.
. Melesse Temesgen (Ethiopia)
The Aybar BBM is a low-cost farming device that can be used by farmers to
plough fields that are usually waterlogged and helps them easily drain the
water. This turns soils or fields that were otherwise unavailable for
farming into high yielding fields.
. Sulaiman Bolarinde Famro (Nigeria)
Farmking Mobile Multi-crop Processor
The innovation uses centrifugal forces to process cassava, sweet potatoes,
soy, she-nuts, grains and cereals. It helps to separate the tubers from
liquid, particles and impurities/toxic elements. The extractor is designed
to replace the present crude fermentation and pressing technology which is
extremely slow and wasteful and offers limited output and profitability. The
extractor reduces a process that normally takes 3 – 4 days into a 5 minute
process offering higher quality product outputs.
. Viness Pillay (South Africa)
WaferMatTM is a tasty paediatric formulation of ARV therapy in the form of a
wafer that dissolves within 3 seconds of being placed in the mouth. The
wafer makes the process of administering the drug to children easier and
also makes absorption more efficient.
The AIF believes that the best solutions to the challenges Africans face on a daily basis can and will come from Africans themselves and innovation is the key. The IPA selection committee represents private equity investors,seed funders, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, innovation catalysts and leaders who are looking for ideas that move Africa forward.
As one who supports this initiative,I will also like to add here that the African Innovation Foundation should not just stop at awarding prizes to winning applications or projects, for example what happens to other finalists,how can these ideas and projects be commercialized to actually benefit the people in Africa?Am sure these are a few challenges before the AIF.