Three Nigerian innovators have been shortlisted for the Africa Prize for engineering solutions to address the continent’s challenges.
This was revealed in a statement by the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The three Nigerians are part of a group of 16 African innovators, spanning 10 countries, who will compete for the £25,000 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
The countries the shortlisted candidates are from include Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
According to the organisers, shortlisted innovations provide engineering solutions crucial to UN Sustainable Development Goals – including water, healthcare, agriculture, education, food security, waste, and energy challenges.
The innovations include a treatment to convert acid mine drainage into drinking water; a portable aquaponics unit that uses fish waste to boost production of vegetables; a robotics learning tool for children; a remote healthcare monitoring system, and an eco-friendly cooking stove which absorbs black carbon.
Four finalists will be chosen by mid-2023 to pitch their innovations and business plans to Africa Prize judges at an event in Accra, Ghana.
The winner will receive £25,000, and three runners up will win £10,000 each; an additional One-to-Watch award of £5,000 will be given to the most promising innovator.
The Africa Prize
Launched in 2014, the Africa Prize is awarded annually by the Royal Academy of Engineering to ambitious African innovators creating local and scalable solutions to pan-African and international challenges.
It is supported by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund.
The Africa Prize shortlist will benefit from a unique package of support including business incubation, mentoring, fundraising and communications.
It also includes access to the Academy’s global network of high-profile experienced engineers and business experts in the UK and Africa.
This year’s shortlisted innovators join the Academy’s 134-strong Africa Prize alumni network, which includes innovators who have achieved significant commercial success and social impact across the continent following their participation in the Prize, such as 2022 winner Norah Magero and her portable solar-powered fridge solution for transporting medicines.
Africa Prize alumni are projected to have an impact on more than three million people in the next five years, and have already created 3,585 jobs – 1,766 for women and 211 for persons with disabilities – and raised more the $14 million in grants and equity funding, directly contributing to 12 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Shortlisted innovations and entrepreneurs
Affordable AMD Solution, Boitumelo Nkatlo, South Africa – A technology to treat acid mine drainage (AMD) using industrial waste to recycle contaminated water for human consumption.
Arobot, Cristovão Cacombe, Angola – A robotics learning tool for children which must be assembled and programmed to perform specific tasks.
Digital Aquaponics, Flavien Kouatcha Simo, Cameroon – A portable fish farm that uses fish waste as a fertiliser to produce organic vegetables, enabling small-scale farmers to increase production.
Electric Mobility, Chukwuemeka Eze, Nigeria – An e-mobility service which converts gas-powered three-wheel motorbikes to run on batteries, saving up to 60% on running costs.
FlexiGyn, Edmund Wessels, South Africa – A portable device enabling gynaecologists to diagnose and treat uterine health issues without anaesthetic.
MEDBOX, Emmanuel Ofori Devi, Ghana – A healthcare monitoring system which records a patient’s vital signs and transmits them to doctors who then provide remote medical advice.
Multi-Purpose Earth Brick Machine, Fikru Gebre Dikumbab, Ethiopia – A manually-operated portable machine to make interlocking compressed earth bricks using 90-95 percent soil and 5-10 percent cement.
ProbiGal, Dr Deon Neveling, South Africa – A host-specific multi-strain probiotic designed to promote gut health and prevent bacterial infections in chickens, reducing the need for antibiotics.
Smart Green Stove, Margaret Yainkain Mansaray, Sierra Leone – An efficient non-electric cooking device designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and health risks, slashing energy use by 70 percent.
Smart Water Tech, Allen Chafa, Zimbabwe – A real time water quality monitoring and control system to address water borne diseases.
ThinkBikes CoolMAX, Tolulope Olukokun, Nigeria – An electric cargo bike with a battery powered fridge to help Nigeria’s smallholder farmers get fresh food crops to market.
WAGA Power Pack, Gibson Kawago, Tanzania – A power pack made with recycled laptop batteries to provide reliable and affordable power for electric bikes, power banks, solar lights, businesses and homes.
Waste-to-Wealth Enhancer, Cletus Ekpoh, Nigeria – A four-part recycling system to help informal waste collectors.
YUNGA, Anatoli Kirigwajjo, Uganda – A local digital network connected through a physical device utilising the Internet of Things to provide security at a low cost in under-resourced areas.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We initially reported that there were four Nigerians among the shortlisted. That has been corrected to three.
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