The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) (www.AfricanInnovation.org) announced Thursday, June 15, 2017 the 10 nominees who will compete for the Innovation Prize for Africa (“PIA”) (http://APO.af / iaUJZd) 2017 to be awarded in Accra on July 18, 2017. Innovators from nine African countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe, were shortlisted to compete for this prestigious award.
This year’s innovators have distinguished themselves with their innovative solutions to problems in agriculture, health, energy, communications, services, and drone surveillance.
This year’s crème de la crème has gone through the rigorous selection process of a recognized jury made up of business representatives, scientists and technology experts and representing people of influence in the field of African innovation.
“We are pleased to share with you the names of the 2017 PIA laureates as we continue our mission to stimulate the spirit of innovation and unleash Africa’s untapped potential. For the first time, innovators from Zimbabwe, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are among the nominees. In addition, given the pivotal role of African women in the transformation of Africa, we are delighted to see the presence of more women among the 10 nominees who will present their groundbreaking innovations. By providing platforms that help recognize the excellence of African innovation and engage African innovators, we continue to embody our credo of engagement, inspiration and transformation. The inspiring stories of these candidates remind us that innovation and solutions focused on African countries is the solution that will ensure Africa’s growth and prosperity, ”said Walter Fust, Chairman of the AIF Foundation Board. .
The PIA, now in its sixth edition under the theme “African Innovation: Investing in Prosperity”, is the leading initiative for innovation on the African continent and offers a total reward of USD 185,000 and incentives to drive growth and prosperity in Africa through local solutions.
PIA has experienced phenomenal growth in applications received as well as increasing interest from innovators and innovation actors over the years. To date, the PIA has identified more than 7,500 innovators from 52 African countries, making it a truly pan-African initiative. The 2017 edition of PIA received applications from a record number of over 2,530 innovators from 48 African countries. The Foundation has supported previous winners and laureates to the tune of approximately $ 1 million to develop their innovations. Thanks to the exposure generated by PIA, the previous winners have managed to raise more than $ 30 million in investments to grow their businesses.
“Over the years, PIA has supported impactful, market-driven innovations to improve the lives of citizens and transform Africa. For this sixth edition, we want to further promote investment in local innovations as well as collaboration and intra-African trade, with the aim of enabling the scaling up of viable innovations across borders. We look forward to working with our partners to ensure that the innovations of the 10 nominees are available in African markets and beyond. We invite you to join us and unleash the potential of African innovators, starting by investing in these 10 nominees ”, said Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, Director of PIA.
The AIF is hosting the 2017 PIA Awards Ceremony and its second Innovation Ecosystem Connector on July 17-18 in Accra, Ghana. The event will focus on how businesses and innovation catalysts can harness the funding flows, investments and resources that are essential to unlock the potential of African innovators. Participants in the PIA awards ceremony will have the opportunity to attend the official opening of this event, visit a pan-African exhibition of innovations, participate in high-level round tables, Zua Hub meetings and networking activities, which will culminate in a celebration of African ingenuity during which the 2017 PIA winners will be announced.
This innovation event is organized in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, represented by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) and the Ghana 60 Years On Planning Committee. The PIA received the support of H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana, who will deliver the opening speech at the awards ceremony.
To learn more about partnership activities and opportunities, visit http://event.innovationprizeforafrica.org.
Find below the 10 PIA nominees as well as a summary of their innovations. They will defend their innovations in front of the PIA jury (see http://InnovationPrizeForAfrica.org/ipa-jurors/) during the closed sessions on July 15 and 16 in Accra. The three winners will then be selected and announced at the award ceremony scheduled for July 18, 2017 at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra.
Innovations in communications and smart solutions
- Peris Bosire, Kenya: FarmDrive
FarmDrive is a financial technology company that has developed a mobile phone application that collects data and provides a risk assessment model for smallholders. While the continent remains heavily dependent on agriculture, one of the biggest challenges facing smallholders is access to credit or finance. Most financial institutions are reluctant to extend credit to farmers because their risk assessment models identify small farmers as being at high risk. FarmDrive has developed a new methodology for assessing the creditworthiness of farmers which has led to greater acceptance of loan applications by farmers, while maintaining a very low default rate. This could have significantly increased agricultural production on the continent while helping financial institutions to effectively increase their agricultural loan portfolios.
- Nokwethu Khojane, South Africa: Lakheni, transforming social capital into purchasing power
Lakheni is a social and business model innovation that aims to bring low-income households together into buying groups to negotiate favorable rates for the goods and services provided to them. Most poor citizens end up paying for their goods and services at a unit price that is usually much higher than that paid by other people with higher disposable income. Indeed, as goods and services are bundled into smaller and smaller units to be more affordable, they become less economically efficient and end up costing more than if purchased in bulk or in larger units. In essence, the poorest end up paying a poverty premium. Lakheni solves this problem by grouping low-income households into a buyer’s market using mobile technology.
- Omolabake Adenle, Nigeria: Speech recognition and text-to-speech software for African languages
It is a software solution capable of understanding and digitizing African languages and synthesizing the speeches of African languages in the form of digitized text. This digitization of African languages allows Africans to interact with hardware devices, such as mobile phones, and digital services, such as call center applications, using their local language. The software can be integrated into a wide variety of devices and third-party software applications. Although text-to-speech and speech recognition software has been developed for various Western and Asian languages, commercial applications and academic research are very limited for African languages. The difficulty lies in the tonality present in most African languages and the limited data resources in the field of language modeling. Thanks to this innovation, Africans with low literacy skills can also reap the benefits of the digital revolution.
- Nzola Swasisa, Democratic Republic of Congo: Lokole
Lokole is a device that enables efficient electronic communication to be accessed from any location with cellular coverage, for a price that is 100,000 times less than that charged for accessing email through normal cellular bandwidth. Lokole achieves this by first creating a shared local area network, which up to 100 users within a 25-meter radius can use to share costs. Second, it contains advanced algorithms that compress messages and organize data uploads and downloads when packet data costs are most attractive. The cost per user can be as low as $ 0.01 / person / day. More than 71% of Africa’s population does not have access to effective communication. Lokole solves this communication problem and allows many communities to access an effective communication system for the first time. Lokole applications include: healthcare (remote care), education (distance education), commerce (e-mail order forms), business (documents attached) and more.
Leverage artificial intelligence and mechanical solutions
- Badr Idriss, Morocco: Atlan Space
Atlan Space develops software technology which is then deployed to manage the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. The software is currently being tested for use in managing operations to detect illegal or harmful maritime activities, such as illegal fishing or oil spills in large areas. Drones controlled through this software can be launched and deployed for surveillance operations without going through an aircraft operator. In addition, using artificial intelligence, they are able to collect, analyze and produce actionable reports. African governments face many challenges in monitoring activities and operations in large areas. This includes border patrols, deforestation, poaching and maritime activities. The software enables drones to be deployed at a very cost effective price, without highly skilled human intervention and for a large number of uses.
- Aly El-Shafei, Egypt: Intelligent Electromagnetic Device Integrated into the Axle Bearing or “SEMAJIB”
The patented innovation (SEMAJIB), presented by Dr El-Shafei, is a smart and versatile device that can change its characteristics during use. It consists of a magnetic bearing encased in an oil-filled sliding bearing, thus forming an intelligent controllable bearing. Flooding the bearing with oil is a determining factor since the purpose of bearings has traditionally been to expel the oil. The performance of turbines using SEMAJIB technology is significantly improved, especially in combined cycle power plants, as well as in the context of conventional generator technology. The device is designed to support power producing turbines and can be used to improve efficiency and reduce costs of power generation in Africa.
- Health care discoveries
Dougbeh-Chris Nyan, Liberia: New technology for rapid detection of many infections with one test
It is a rapid diagnostic test that can simultaneously detect and differentiate at least three to seven infections at the same time within 10 to 40 minutes. Most African countries suffer from a lack of sophisticated diagnostic devices and have limited expertise in high-tech diagnostics. This hinders the clinical decision-making capacity of health care providers. This test provides a solution to this clinical problem. The innovation is easy to use in all settings and especially in rural areas. In addition, the device is able to detect and distinguish multiple infections, which have the same symptoms, for example, when a patient has yellow fever, malaria and Ebola. While most test methods require 3-7 days, this device provides test results within 10-40 minutes. This would be an important step in the detection and management of infectious diseases on the continent.
- Olanisun Olufemi Adewole, Nigeria: Sweat test for tuberculosis
Sweat TB Test is a rapid, non-invasive skin test for tuberculosis (TB). Tuberculosis is the second leading cause of death in Africa, after HIV / AIDS. The diagnostic methods available are high-tech and cannot be deployed in rural centers, where the diagnosis is based only on sputum which is sometimes not collected, and is considered dirty by patients. These methods are also largely time-consuming: they involve numerous clinical consultations with patients before a diagnosis can be made. The delay in diagnosis and missed diagnoses of 3 million cases of tuberculosis results in the continued spread of the disease. Sweat TB Test uses the specific TB marker present in the sweat of patients to produce an on-site test that can detect TB within 10 minutes, without pricking. In just a few simple steps, reports are read and patients can begin treatment at the same clinic visit. This test has the potential to effectively contribute to tuberculosis control, reduce TB deaths and prevent TB drug resistance in Africa.
- Gift Gana, Zimbabwe: Dr CADx
Dr CADx is software that helps doctors and caregivers diagnose medical images more accurately. Due to the scarcity of radiologists on the continent, the majority of medical images are interpreted by GPs or other healthcare workers who lack skills, resulting in a misdiagnosis in over 30% of cases. examined. As a result, millions of patients fail to get the right treatment or treatment is delayed, resulting in more complications and sometimes even death. Dr. CADx uses deep learning techniques to interpret medical images and achieve 82% accuracy compared to the 70% average obtained by radiologists. Dr CADx is designed to operate in a resource-limited setting with poor internet connection, thus adapting its use within the many rural settings of Africa.
- Philippa Ngaju Makobore, Uganda: Electronically Controlled Infusion or “ECGF”
Electronically Controlled Infusion (ECGF) is a medical device designed to accurately deliver intravenous (IV) fluids and medications, controlling the flow rate based on indications from a drop sensor. More than 10% of children admitted to hospitals in East Africa have an immediate need for infusion therapy. The results of the FEAST trial indicate that excess infusion in these children increased the absolute risk of death by 3.3% over 48 hours. Incorrect administration rates can cause serious side effects. ECGF solves this problem because it is very easy to use and has key safety features, including alarms for infusion rate (fast or slow), total volume (over or under), and faulty sensors. A battery using a hybrid charge (mains and solar) powers the device. ECGF has the potential to save lives by ensuring accurate and safe infusion at 8% of the cost of a new infusion pump.
For more details on the 10 nominees and their innovations, please visit http://InnovationPrizeForAfrica.org/en.