Three African innovators win $150 000 Innovation Prize for Africa

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The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) has awarded $150 000 Innovation Prize for Africa to three African innovators.

Over 2500 applications were received, with 10 nominees selected and from these Aly El-Shafei of Egypt emerged as the Grand Prize winner, with Philippa Ngaju Makobore of Uganda landing the Second Prize and Dougbeh-Chris Nyan of Liberia winning the Special Prize for Social Impact.

Each one of the seven remaining nominees also went home with $5 000 voucher to be used to further develop their innovations.

All nominees and winners will benefit from IPA post prize activities aiming at moving their innovations to the next level. 

The main obstacle in increasing electricity generation capacity in Africa continues to be the high cost of producing electricity, which is forcing governments to subsidize consumption.

Dr El-Shafei’s innovation, Smart Electro-Mechanical Actuator Journal Integrated Bearing (SEMAJIB), is a Solution that supports energy generating turbines and can be used to improve efficiency and reduce costs of generating energy in Africa.

Meanwhile, inadequate medical solutions to efficiently administer drugs or to diagnose diseases continue to affect the quality of healthcare delivery in many parts of the continent. Makobore’s invention, known as Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion Set (ECGF) and Dr Nyan’s multiple disease rapid detection test, both offer ingenious solutions aimed at raising the quality of healthcare provision in Africa. 

“This edition of IPA has been all about galvanizing support for African innovators in order to mobilize increased investments to help them commercialize and scale their innovations at a greater rate. AIF has rewarded IPA 2017 for developing solutions that can truly add value to the lives of Africans, and I believe that these innovations have incredible commercial potential and will succeed in attracting the right investments to go to the next stage,” comments Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, African Innovation Foundation Founder. 

Prof Nyasse Barthelemy, IPA 2017 Chairman of the Jury says that the deliberation was tough as the quality of innovations were high.

“Each of the innovations, in their own respective ways, were winners as they represented local solutions to local challenges. It came down to the wire but we believe we have awarded the most compelling innovations this year. We look forward to seeing what comes next for the incredible innovations from IPA2017 innovators and wish them the very best”.

The patented innovation, SEMAJIB by Dr  El-Shafei who walked away with the Grand Prize of US$ 100 000, is a smart bearing that significantly improves turbine performance in single line combined cycle plants as well as conventional generator technology. 

Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion Set (ECFG) by Philippa, who bagged the Second Prize of US$ 25 000, is designed to accurately administer intravenous (IV) fluids and drugs by controlling the rate of fluid flow based on feedback from a drop sensor.

Dr Dougbeh, who was awarded the Special Prize for Social Impact of US$25 000, developed a rapid test that can detect and simultaneously differentiate at least three to seven infections at the same time. 

“As Ghana marks 60 years of independence, there is no opportune time than now to reiterate our nation’s commitment towards investing in innovation-led growth and prosperity. Our decision to partner with the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) to host the 2017 edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa is a result of our commitment to support African innovation not just at a national but at a Pan-African level. Platforms such as IPA are vital for building stronger synergies amongst key Science Technology and Innovation influencers and stakeholders in Ghana whilst expanding linkages with international partners to promote STI development capacity building, knowledge transfer and forge new partnerships with regional innovation leaders and expand our nation’s innovation footprint,” comments Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Ghana President.

 

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Thabo Mphahlele is the BizNis Africa Head of Sales and Marketing. Mphahlele was previously MultiChoice Production Support Analyst responsible for developing and monitoring applications. In addition, Mphahlele develops and automates batch scripts and is responsible for the daily infrastructure maintenance at MultiChoice. As a Production Support Analyst, he is responsible for incident analysis solving , developing and constructing business reports for SQL and Oracle and implement change controls for the business. Additional responsibility includes monitoring system performance via SOA, Kibaba (Elasticsearch), H.P BSM, HP Sitescope. Mphahlele is responsible for creating infrastructure performance reports through HP Ops Analytics, monitoring payments via Splunk and in-house built-in tool and disaster recovery simulation and testing. At Nashua Mobile, he was responsible for application development and enhancing the web sites At South West Gauteng College, he was the IT Technician and Network Administrator. During his tenure at Double Digit Media, he was he focused on application and web site development for new and existing clients Mphahlele contributes as a Content Manager for BizNis Africa.

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