African Innovation Foundation

10 June 2013

African Innovation Prize Finalists

1. Sanoussi Diakite (Senegal)- Fonio Husking Machine- Best Social Impact Innovation:*

-Fonio is a cereal that is found in 16 West African countries. It is mainly consumed as porridge or couscous and has potential to help address food security and malnutrition faced by more than 200 million people in West Africa.

-Fonio can be cultivated under the most adverse agricultural conditions.

It can grow in the poorest soil and requires very little water to grow which makes it ideal for African countries that are prone to drought.

-Dr Djibril Traoré, a respected researcher from Oklahoma State University, recently proved some of the health benefits of fonio. The cereal's value in improving the health of diabetics and high blood pressure was the subject of Dr Traoré research.

The challenge:

·It normally takes about two hours to pound 2 kg of fonio, a labor and time intensive task.

·Because husking the important cereal is a major income-generating task for some West African families, low productivity rates mean that these families are not at their optimum income-generating potential.

The innovation:

·The Fonio Husking Machine has transformed the once-laborious process of preparing the cereal into a simple task; it is now possible to produce about 75 kg of husked fonio in 2 hours.

The impact:

·Increased efficiency and productivity by 3,650 per cent

·Fonio production that had declined in most Western African countries is now likely to increase thanks to the husking machine, increasing accessibility and health benefits to the communities that consider the cereal a staple food source.

·Governments across West Africa have begun to pay attention to Diakité's revolutionary device and its potential impact on sustainable food security.

·The machine has clearly shown the impact and importance of the mechanization of agriculture on agricultural productivity in Africa.

Mr Diakité is considered the world's principal champion of fonio. He has won several awards for his invention. In addition to winning $25.000USD for the Best Social Impact Innovation at the IPA 2013, he was awarded the International Rolex Prize in Geneva (Switzerland) in 1996 and the first Grand Prix du Salon Africain de l'invention in 1997 in Dakar. In 2008, he was one of the laureates of the Tech Awards in the Health Award category. He is dedicated to giving fonio a major boost on the African socio-economic agenda.

2. Agriprotein (South Africa)- Using Flies and Waste to Make Food- Overall Winner:

-The industrial farming of chickens, pigs and fish heavily relies on protein from fish. Currently 40 per cent of fish harvested globally to produce animal feed.

-The dependency on fish for animal feed has devastating consequences on marine life and fishing communities in Africa and around the world.

-AgriProtein is leading a new industry called nutrient recycling: using organic waste to create protein as a new, organic animal feed. As Africa's population expands, the middle class grows and demand for meat increases exponentially this approach not only manages waste but also ensures a more sustainable food production.

The challenges:

·Waste management

·Increased demand for meat and food across Africa

·Health challenges associated with current methods of feeding livestock

·Environmental protection

The innovation:

·AgriProtein has found a new sustainable way to manage waste and create food

·The team of researchers and entrepreneurs' innovative approach uses waste and fly larvae to produce natural animal feed

·The AgriProtein solution collects biodegradable waste, feeds it to flies that in turn produce larvae that are ground into protein to provide a more ecologically friendly, naturally occurring type of animal feed

The impact:

·Instead of depleting seas of millions of fish each year for animal feed to support industrial farming, the AgriProtein team has practically re-created the natural cycle of animal feed

·This sustainable way of creating animal feed allows fishing communities around the continent to maintain their source of income without interference from farmers

·AgriProtein has found an innovative way to manage human, animal and food waste, a prominent challenge on the continent

·The AgriProtein approach improves the nutritional value of meat and lowers the cost of animal feed for African processors and farmers

·The cyclical effect of AgriProtein's innovation is that animals that are fed organic, unpolluted food are in turn a healthier food source for human consumption

On the large AgriProtein farm on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, flies are taught to lay eggs in specific places and the larvae they produce is collected and extracted in large laboratories, then naturally processed to produce a cereal-like powder that is used to feed animals. This is an African contribution to sustainable agriculture for the planet.

AgriProtein is passionate about expanding their business to recycle more waste nutrients and supply a natural protein to feed farm animals - helping sustainably feed the continent and the world.

You can also find video and information on both winners at <>. A short clip of Jason Drew (from AgriProtein) explaining his viewpoint on sustainable waste management and animal feed production can also be found here: <>.

3.Hassine Labaied and Anis Aouini (Tunisia)/ Saphon Energy- Zero-Blade Wind Turbine - Best Business Potential Innovation:

·Africa and the world are increasingly facing an energy crisis as researchers, political leaders and the private sector look for new sources of fuel and renewable energy

·To date, cleaner energy has always meant higher costs. As a result, developing economies across Africa have turned to cheaper, more environmentally damaging energy sources.

·Saphon Energy has taken the windmills that have dotted landscapes in the global north for generations and found a new, cheaper, more environmentally sound approach

The challenge:

·Renewable energy is a universal challenge

·Everyone is looking for a cheaper, cleaner way to produce power

The innovation:

·A zero-blade wind converter that uses the same technology that has been used by sailboats for generations.

The impact:

·According to the Betz' limit <>, no turbine can capture more than 59 per cent of the kinetic energy of the wind. An average wind turbine captures only 30 to 40 per cent.

·The cost is 45 per cent less than a conventional turbine, mostly due to the fact that there are no blades, no hub, and no gearbox on the units.

·Most of the kinetic energy can be stored (via a hydraulic accumulator <>) or converted to electricity with a hydraulic motor and generator.

·The zero-blade wind convertor produces less noise than conventional convertors, which greatly reduces noise pollution.

·With no blades, the Saphon convertor also does not harm birds, making it more environmentally friendly.

Hassine Labaied and Anis Aouini won $25000USD for their innovation and are looking to expand the business to markets across the continent. The current wind turbine technology is not economically viable without substantial public subsidies. Rather than ask the wind power to defy the laws of economic gravity, Saphon has invented a new cost effective technology that challenges conventional approaches and addresses current energy demand.

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