2016 innovation for African award nominees revealed
Last week, the African Innovation Foundation announced the top ten nominees for its the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) program. Launched in 2011 and now in its fifth year, the IPA awards innovations that increase efficiency and save costs in key areas, such as manufacturing, health, agriculture, and energy. It is no surprise then that the ten nominees are all engaged with bettering their communities and offering solutions to uniquely African problems. The nominees include professors and scientists from across the continent.
Egyptian professor Youssef Rashed created software that will tackle problems relating to architecture and infrastructure. Poorly built houses erected to accommodate the growing urban population in African cities often end up collapsing. Rashed’s Plate Package assesses the structural integrity of building plans or technical drawings before the building is erected. This provides a cheaper method of testing architecture to ensure that they are fit for use.
Another nominee, Godwin Benson from Nigeria, created a peer-to-peer e-learning platform that matches tutors with students. Tuteria allows people (“students”) to learn formal and/or informal skills through connecting with anyone in their area who possesses those skills. It is an online community where students and tutors can connect, exchange ideas, and form a rapport before meeting offline. Tuteria takes the added step of vetting both students and tutors to ensure safety and quality standards.
Valentin Agon’s innovative take on tackling the persistent problem of malaria has offered him a place in the top ten. From Benin, Agon specializes in indigenous medicine, his anti-malarial drug Api-Palu is made from plant extracts. Api-Palu is not only cheaper that other anti-malarial drugs, it reports a faster rate of cure with smaller doses. The drug has gained traction due to its therapeutic effects and is available in capsule and syrup formats.
The sole woman on this list is South African Imogen Wright. Wright is a scientist who has developed a software that detects if a HIV positive patient is responsive to ARV drug treatment. Exatype processes highly complex data in a patient’s blood and addresses the growing number of people living with HIV/AIDS who are resistant to ARVs. It could potentially help in detecting drug resistance for other diseases, too.
Only three out of the top ten will make it to the top. The winners stand to gain $150,000 and will be announced at the IPA gala that will be taking place next month in Gaborone, Botswana. This year’s theme is “Made in Africa.”
Which innovators do you think will make it as winners? Share your answers in a comment below or on Twitter @rafeeeeta