What do an environmentally-friendly minicab, a water distillation system and a fire alert detector have in common? They all represent outstanding innovation talent across Africa, applied for the celebrated Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) award this year, and are now being considered for the grand share prize of US$150 000!
Since its inaugural launch in 2011, IPA has gathered great momentum, and is now recognized for leading the innovation frontier in Africa by rewarding innovators for their home-grown, market-led innovations that contribute to Africa’s growth, development and prosperity.
This year, AIF received a record 925 applications from 41 countries for its prestigious IPA awards, surpassing the previous year’s entry record of 903. The awards ceremony will be held on 12-13 May in, Skhirat, Morocco, a country fast trending as an innovation hub in Africa. This year, the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) is partnering with the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy to host the 4th edition of IPA which has received eminent patronage from His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
This year’s finalists showcase a diverse range of innovations from agriculture, to education and e-health. The 10 nominees for IPA 2015 are:
Adnane Remmal, Morocco
A patented alternative to livestock antibiotics. This is a composition of natural phenolic molecules with anti-microbial (anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal) properties. The natural, innovative formula reduces the health hazard to cattle and humans, and prevents the transmission of multi-resistant germs and possible carcinogens through meat, eggs and milk to humans at no extra cost to farmers.
Alex Mwaura Muriu, Kenya
Farm Capital Africa is a well developed risk sharing agri-business funding model that draws in investors for a share of farming profits. The initiative identifies, screens and shortlists full-time farmers with small holdings and helps them devise farming plans to attract potential investors who earn profits over time.
David Gluckman, South Africa
Lumkani fire detection. An off-the-shelf fire detection device and alert service that uses radio frequency (RF) transmission technology suitable for informal dwellings. In the event of a fire, the device triggers an alarm to alert the family. Within 20 seconds, the device transmits a signal that sets off heat detectors in a 60 meter radius to elicit a community-wide response to the fire.
Jean Bosco Kazirukanyo, Burundi
New type of cement "OSP" that protects waters against carcinogenic lubrication oil spills. A new formulation of cement that can be sprinkled on fresh or old lubricant and oil spills. The cement chemically reacts with the contaminants to form tiny lumps that can be easily removed and deposited in designated plastic bins.
Johann Pierre Kok, South Africa
Scientific engineering educational box: ‘Seebox’. A scientific engineering educational box that allows children to enjoy a practical and experimental way of learning the sciences and electronics, and measuring almost anything electronic or scientific. ‘Seebox’ also offers short videos explaining what is being measured.
Kyai Mullei, Kenya
M-changa, also known as E-harambee. A mobile application that empowers individuals and organizations to initiate and manage fundraisers via sms or web devices in an efficient and cost effective way.
Lesley Erica Scott, South Africa
Smartspot TBcheck. Smartspot’s flagship product, TBcheck examines the accuracy of machines used to detect TB diagnosis. They are designed to assess whether these machines are functioning optimally.
Marc Arthur Zang, Cameroon
The cardio-pad. An affordable tablet that records and processes the patient’s ECG (heart signal) before transferring it to a remote station using mobile phone networks. The device can be used in village hospital and clinic settings in the absence of a cardiologist. ECG results can be downloaded on a tablet by the cardiologist.
Neil Du Preez, South Africa
Mellowcabs. This is a suite of technologies that includes recovering the kinetic energy that is typically lost in the braking process, converting it into electricity and storing it. Other associated innovations include hydrogen fueled Mellowcabs, adaptable, renewable body shells and an app to book cab rides that can be paid for with cash or credit.
Samuel O. Otukol, Uganda
Water distillation system and process (dsp). This innovation proposes an alternative source of viable drinkable water in areas of water shortage or where only sea water is available. Salty water is evaporated at low temperatures (30 to 50 degrees Celsius) and then condensed into fresh water.
The panel of IPA judges examined all entries through a rigorous process which included validation by technical experts. The calibre of entries this year was particularly impressive, says Chairman of the IPA 2015 selection panel, McLean Sibanda.
Three winners will be chosen and announced in a glittering ceremony to be held in Skhirat, Morocco on 13 May 2015. The US$150 000 cash prize is shared between the winners, with the most outstanding innovation receiving US$100 000, and two prizes of US$25 000 for innovation with the highest social impact and best business potential respectively.
Besides rewarding excellence in innovation on 13 May 2015, Skhirat will be showcasing yet more innovation through an innovation marketplace, an innovative Ideas Machine workshop targeting young visionaries and a press conference. With an impressive line-up of CNBC coverage, quality entertainment from Africa’s number 1 music extraordinaire, Youssour N’Dour, an innovator himself, and Lerato Mbele, presenter of Africa Business Report on BBC World News compering this ceremony, IPA 2015 is an event to watch out for!