17 July 2018

Africa: Entries Open for Top Africa Innovation Prize

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Johannesburg — ENGINEERS from sub-Saharan Africa have been encouraged to enter the fifth edition of the prestigious Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.

The deadline for entries is July 23.

Founded by the United Kingdom's Royal Academy of Engineering, the Africa Prize is a six-month training programme which helps engineers become entrepreneurs through funding, bespoke mentoring and comprehensive business training.

The 16 candidates shortlisted for the accolade hailed as the biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation will receive training to develop business plans and market their innovations.

The eventual winner is awarded £25 000. Runners up receive £10 000.

"The skills you get from the Africa Prize last a lifetime and help you reshape and rethink your business," said inaugural winner, Dr Askwar Hilonga.

Hilonga's NanoFilter business has expanded across Tanzania, with support from international agencies and organisations, making a lasting impact on people in the region by providing innovative water filtration systems to communities.

Africa Prize judge, Rebecca Enonchong from Cameroon, said engineering drove development and social change plus had the potential to significantly improve quality of life.

Enonchong said African engineers were already advancing technology in fields ranging from health and agriculture to education and energy.

"Developing entrepreneurial skills among those innovative engineers is the key to showcasing and amplifying the continent's considerable technological strength," she said.

Ugandan software engineer, Brian Gitta, was last month announced the fourth winner of the Africa Prize. He won for his innovation, Matibabu, a device which tests for malaria without drawing blood.

Other previous winners are Cardiopad founder Arthur Zang from Cameroon; and Godwin Benson from Nigeria for the education app, Tuteria.

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