Ten African innovators including Justus Nwaoga, a Nigerian, have emerged as finalists for this year’s innovation prize for Africa
| By Maureen Chigbo | May 13, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
JUSTUS Nwaoga, a Nigerian, is among the 10 2013 African innovators who were nominated for developing practical solutions to some of the continent’s most intractable problems. They were chosen from more than 900 applications from 45 countries. The finalists for the Innovation Prize for Africa, IPA, 2013 provided practical examples of Africa’s investment potentials. South Africans dominated the list of finalists with five innovators with different innovations.
Nwaoga was nominated for developing a new way to collect renewable solar energy by using the mimosa pudica weed, an organic African medicinal plant. The others are Hassine Labaied and Anis Aouini from Saphon Energy, a Tunisian R&D start up,Zero-Blade Wind Convertor. They developed a wind turbine with no blades that does not rotate – it uses sailboat technology to create cost-effective energy through a back-and-forth 3D motion.
Dudley Jackson, a South African, developed a waterless toilet for rural areas and temporary settlements. The toilet separates liquids from solids to improve environmental impact, decreases the potential for disease, reduces odour and ensures easier removal called SavvyLoo. Eugene Cloete is another innovator from South Africa who developed the TBag Water Filter. He created a water filter that uses electrospun tea bag material to ensure one litre of the most polluted water is 100 percent safe to drink.
Ashley Uys also from South Africa, created the Malaria pf/PAN (pLDH) Test Kit. It is a new rapid malaria test that indicates within 30 minutes if treatment is effective. The test kit is one of only nine developed globally and is the only test of its kind fully-owned by an African company.
A team of researchers from AgriProtien Technologies in South Africa also developed a new source of animal feed protein that lowers the cost of feed for African producers and farmers while Andi Friedman and his team also from South Africa developed Mobenzi, a software that provides mobile data collection and field research solution, allowing sophisticated forms of research to be conducted across Africa online or via mobile phones.
The Fonia Husker Machine was developed by Sanoussi Diakite, a Senegalese. It is an electric and thermal powered machine that husks five kilograms of fonia – a West African cereal – in just eight minutes.
Njokikang Faustinus, a Cameroonian, created Novatech Construction Systems an efficient construction process. Its flagship product is a manual brick press that more easily produces 3,000 interlocking bricks per day.
Muna Majoud Mahoamed Ahmed, a Sudanese, developed an agro-foresty model farm in Khartoum that produces innovative sources of income from moringa leaves, seeds and jatrofa seeds. From Tunisa to South Africa, the IPA 2013 finalists are leaders in the areas of agriculture, environment, health, ICT and manufacturing.
The winners of the IPA 2013 will be announced at a gala dinner on May 7, in Cape Town, South Africa, hosted by the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business and the Sekunjalo Development Foundation. The winner will receive $100 000 for the best innovation based on marketability, originality, scalability, social impact and clear business potentiasl. A runner up will receive $25 000 for the best commercial potential and another finalist will receive $25 000 as a special prize for social innovation.
“As global leaders gather for the World Economic Forum on Africa to discuss approaches to deliver on Africa’s promise, these innovators demonstrate that the best way to build Africa’s capacity is to invest in local innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, a co-founder of the African Innovation Foundation and the IPA.
“We see a strong trend emerging of innovations that have significant social impact for Africa,” said .Francois Bonnici, Director Bertha Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.
The prize encourages Africans to develop creative ways to overcome everyday challenges. The IPA selection committee represents private equity investors, seed funders, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and development leaders who are looking for ideas that move Africa forward. The call for applications for IPA 2014 will be announced in July 2013.
The Innovation Prize for Africa is an award founded by the African Innovation Foundation and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. It mobilises African innovators and entrepreneurs by providing a total of $150 000 to winners who deliver market-oriented solutions for African-led development. The IPA honours and encourages innovative achievements that contribute toward developing new products, increasing efficiency or cost savings in Africa. The prize also encourages private equity investors, government and development leaders to invest across sectors and build a climate that fuels Africa’s economic growth.