AIF Unveils The 10 Nominees For The Annual Innovation Prize For Africa Awards

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AIF Unveils The 10 Nominees For The Annual Innovation Prize For Africa Awards

For this year’s award, there was a record 925 application received from 41 countries across the continent for the IPA 2015 to showcase the most talented innovators in Africa.

For the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2015, there were numerous and outstanding innovation summated from talented innovators across the African continent. The submissions include a fire alert detector, a water distillation system and an environment-friendly minicab among others; all going up against each other in a rat race to win the grand prize of US$150,000!

Ever since its launch in 2011, IPA has gained a lot of momentum and respect over the years to become a recognized platform for highlighting Africa’s frontiers in innovation. The platform also awards home-grown, market-led innovative products contributing to the continent’s growth, development and prosperity.

For this year, there were a record 925 applications from 41 countries across the continent for the prestigious IPA awards, up from the 2014’s entry record of 903 submissions. The 2015 IPA Awards will take place on 12-13 May in Skhirat, Morocco – a country that is fast proving to be a great innovation hub for the African continent.

To make this event possible, the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) has partnered with the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy for the IPA 4th Edition. The event has also received patronage from His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

In addition to H.E Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy for Morocco expressed his Ministry’s enthusiasm for co-hosting the IPA 4th Edition: “We have a strong commitment with AIF to unlock the innovation potential of the continent. The ambition is to make Africa a juncture of innovative and prosperous nations.”

In acknowledgement of the important role innovation plays in economic development, Elalamy added, “in Morocco, the commitment to promote research and innovation mobilizes both the government and private sector decision makers who join their efforts to make the national innovation system a force for development.”

The selected finalist for the IPA 2015 showcase a variety of innovation ranging from agriculture, e-health and education. The 10 nominees for the IPA 2015 are as follows:

Adnane Remmal – Morocco

This innovator came up with a patented livestock antibiotics alternative. The composition of which is made up of natural phenolic molecules that has anti-microbial (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic) properties. Remmal’s all natural formula reduces infection to both cattle and man as well as preventing transmission of multi-resistant germs and carcinogens through animal products (meat, milk and eggs) to humans. The antibiotic is available at not extra cost to farmers.

Alex Mwaura – Kenya

He came up with Farm Capital Africa, an elaborate risk sharing agri-business funding model that attracts investors seeking to Return on Investment from the profits made from the farming activities. This initiatives identifies, screens and shortlists full-time farmers having small holdings and help them come up with a farming plan that will attract potential investors interested in ROI over time. The initiative is certainly a viable solution to ‘agripreneurs’ who typically have no collateral or credit history that will enable them access the conventional source of financing. By attracting both investors and other small scale farmers with extra capital who would like a good return on their investment.

David Gluckman – South Africa

David came up with the Lumkani fire detection. A device that uses radio frequency (RF) transmission technology that has been adopted to the informal dwellings settings and can trigger alarm in the event of a fire. In a matter of 20 seconds the device will send out signals to other heat detectors within a 60 meter radius and effectively prompting a community-wide response in putting out the fire. The device is particularly effective in preventing fire from ravaging high population density areas such as slums in most African urban areas.

Jean Bosco Kazirukanyo – Burundi

The innovator came up with a new kind of cement ‘OSP’ that can be used to protect waters from carcinogenic lubrication oil spills. When the cement is sprinkled on lubricant or oil spills in waters, it chemically reacts with the contaminants forming tiny lumps that could be easily removed or swept away. The contaminants will then be collected in plastic bags and transported to cement production plants where they can be used as concrete additives. The innovation shows a great promise in future efforts to contain and clean up ecologically harmful oil spills, that are currently being handled in unsustainable and ecologically harmful manner.

Johann Pierre Kok – South Africa

The innovator came up with the ‘Seebox’ – a scientific engineering educational box that allows children to enjoy a practical and experimental way of learning about matters science and electronics. The Seebox also allow kids to take measurement of anything electronic or scientific and comes with a short video demo explaining what is being measured. This innovation seeks to boost the number of kids who become interested in STEM related careers. The device enables kids to get the feel of the basic principles of science and electronics by building, measuring and experimenting.

Kyai Mullei – Kenya

The founder of M-changa also known as E-harambee; a mobile platform where individuals and organizations can initiate and manage fundraisers through sms or web devices. Somewhat similar to the crowdfunding platforms but using the mass market mobile communication combined with various money transfer technologies. Users can elicit financial support for a cause, track the contributions then withdraw the funds through mobile money without necessarily using internet connection. This innovation brings the benefit of crowdfunding to African communities where internet is not always readily available to everyone in addition to incorporating a unique aspect of the African culture.

Lesley Erica Scott – South Africa

The innovator is credited for the creation of the Smartspot TBcheck. A device that can examanie the accuracy of machines being used to run TB diagnosis. The TBcheck assesses the TB diagnostic machines if they are functioning optimally. Unlike the alternatives, TBcheck is said to be easier and safer to use and can be supplied to laboratories safely and economically. Making diagnosis of TB not only just easier but also might go a long way in reducing the TB epidemic across the continent.

Marc Arthur Zang – Cameroon

Zang came up with the cardio-pad – an affordable tablet that allow medical practioners to record and process patients’ ECG (heart signal) before transferring it to a remote station using mobile phone networks. The device has proved to be invaluable in African rural setup where village hospitals and clinics operate without a cardiologist. The ECG results can be downloaded onto a tablet by a cardiologist in a far off location. Additionally the examination will be interpreted using cardio-pad’s computer-assisted diagnostic embedded app and the results and prescription transmitted to the nurse performing the procedure. Thus ensuring effective monitoring of the patients hearts in rural areas with limited or no access to cardiologists.

Neil Du Preez – South Africa

Came up with the Mellowcabs – a suite of technologies that includes recovering the kinetic energy usually lost when braking a vehicle into electrical energy that can be stored. Other technologies within that suite includes hydrogen powered Mellowcabs, adaptable, renewable body shells and an app to book cab rides that can be paid for with either cash or credit. The cabs are also user-friendly allowing users to track the cab’s location, it has WiFi connection and mobile charging while in transit. The minicab service fills the gap for commuters who need organized, safe and affordable micro transport within a three mile radius. The eco-friendly cabs also eases traffic congestion in cities.

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 at lower costs than incurred using reverse osmosis. The proposed process can also use solar energy in remote areas. It helps water shortages in drought-stricken areas, or where existing desalination methods have proved ineffective.

The panel of highly qualified 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, noting that IPA has continued to gain importance and greater recognition each year, seen in the quality and depth of applications:

“Shortlisting the top 10 was no easy task as each of the top 25 innovations are a response to a need or challenge within our communities. The IPA is indeed an important platform – not only for showcasing Africa’s ability to innovate to address its own challenges, but also for celebrating Africa’s ingenuity”.

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.

Reflecting on IPA achievements in catalysing the innovation spirit in Africa, Jean Claude Bastos de Morais, AIF and IPA Founder said:

The IPA has come a long way since its inception in 2011. The first major milestone was achieved in 2012 when the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) passed a resolution to promote an innovation society for Africa’s socio-economic transformation. Today the IPA is playing a fundamental role in showcasing the continent’s immense potential to become thriving innovation economies. Year after year, the innovations that are presented for the IPA comprise high-value African solutions with positive socio-economic impact, and this year is no exception.

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 promises to be the calendar event of Africa.

About Africa Innovation Foundation’s Innovation Prize for Africa

Africa Innovation Foundation (AIF) works to increase the prosperity of Africans by catalyzing the innovation spirit in Africa.

Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) is a landmark initiative of the AIF and mobilizes African innovators to invest in African-led solutions to ensure a sustainable, prosperous Africa. Details on IPA 2015 events can be found on

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