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Africa Prize 2021 selects innovators to pitch for £25,000 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

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 The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation has shortlisted ambitious African innovators who are transforming their communities through scalable engineering solutions.

The 2021 shortlist represents nine countries including, for the first time, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Ethiopia and the Gambia. Six of the 16-strong shortlist are female innovators. 

The benefits of selection include comprehensive and tailored business training, bespoke mentoring, media and communications training, funding and access to the Academy’s network of high-profile, experienced engineers and business experts based in the UK and across Africa, as well as access to the alumni network after the programme concludes. 

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Following this period of support, four finalists will be selected and invited to pitch their improved innovation and business plan to the judges and a live audience. A winner will be selected to receive £25,000, and three runners up will receive £10,000 each.

Emma Wade Smith OBE, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa at the UK Department for International Trade said: “The Africa Prize helps to accelerate entrepreneurial capacity and ecosystems. I am excited to follow the progress of this year’s cohort, and am certain we will see many of these inventions go on to create and sustain jobs and benefit our societies, as so many of the previous participants in the Africa Prize have done.”

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Alumni of the Prize are projected to impact over three million lives in the next five years and have already created over 1500 jobs and raised more than $14 million in grants and equity.

Africa Prize alumni have also played an important role in supporting the continent’s COVID-19 pandemic response, with the programme’s training and additional Academy funding helping them pivot their businesses and address community needs. Together, they reached over 220,000 people with innovations including affordable hand sanitizer, remote education, 3D-printed PPE, access to finance for smallholder farmers and a track and trace platform allowing worshippers to attend religious services.

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The complete list of selected technologies and candidates includes:

  • Aevhas, Jacob Azundah from Nigeria – A high-efficiency machine used to process cassava roots into the West African diet staple, garri.
  • Biopackaging, Armelle Sidje from Cameroon – A sustainable manufacturing process which transforms banana and plantain stems to biodegradable paper packaging products. 
  • BlueAvo, Indira Tsengiwe from South Africa – A digital platform which connects creative brands and people in the media industry with local content creators and provides a digital workspace for collaboration and project development.
  • CodeLn, Elohor Thomas from Nigeria – An automated tech recruitment platform that supports software engineering recruitment by connecting companies with talented people in the field and helps test their coding abilities. 
  • Dissolv Bioplastic, Tshepo Mangoele from South Africa – A bioplastic made from plant waste material which is compostable and dissolves in water at pre-determined rates.
  • I3S, Marie Ndieguene from Senegal – A sustainably-made and affordable storage space solution made from diverted landfill waste designed to solve the problem of post-harvest loss in agriculture.
  • Jumeni Field Service Software, Eyram Amedzor from Ghana – Software which assists service-based businesses by providing a three-part cloud-based application to help increase the productivity of their field teams.
  • KubeKo, Noël N’guessan from Côte d’Ivoire – A low-cost biowaste processing machine designed for smallholder farmers to efficiently manage and monetise biowaste.
  • Make3D Medical, Juka Fatou Darboe from The Gambia – Cost-effective locally 3D-printed customised orthopaedic, medical and assistive equipment for patients and healthcare workers.
  • Mkono-1, Dr Atish Shah from Tanzania – A locally 3D-printed prosthetic hand which provides an affordable solution for people living with upper limb amputations.
  • Orbit Health, Pazion Cherinet from Ethiopia – A digital health platform which manages and stores patient data and dispenses medication, allowing for seamless continuity of care.
  • Reeddi, Olugbenga Olufemi Olubanjo from Nigeria – An energy system used to provide clean, reliable and affordable electricity to households and businesses operating in energy-poor communities.
  • RealDrip, Taofeek Olalekan from Nigeria – An intravenous therapy solution combining the Internet of Things and AI to monitor dosages, flow rates and intake time.
  • ShiVent, Yusuf Bilesanmi from Nigeria – A low-cost, non-electric and non-invasive ventilator for patients with respiratory difficulties.
  • Social Lender, Faith Adesemowo from Nigeria – A digital financial services solution that uses a social reputation score to provide access to formal financial services for those without access to a smartphone or bank account.
  •, George Boateng from Ghana – A smartphone application which uses artificial intelligence to teach coding remotely.

An eight-month period of tailored training and mentoring culminates in a showcase event where a winner is selected to receive £25,000, along with three runners-up, who are each awarded £10,000. 

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Milcah Lukhanyu
Milcah Lukhanyu
I cover tech news across Africa. Drop me an email at [email protected]

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