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The coveted initiative aims to award the African innovators and entrepreneurs who “show market-oriented solutions that increase efficiency or cost-saving in Africa” according to the IPA website.
The extension comes in response to many requests received from potential applicants across the continent who indicated that they learnt about the competition a little too late to prepare and submit their entries to the level they needed it to be, to win the US$100 000 cash prize.
IPA Program Director Pauline Mujawamariya stressed the need to invest in innovative ideas to accelerate economic growth on the continent:
“Africa has experienced one of the fastest economic growths in recent history — 6% on average. Innovation has and will continue to play a vital role in this growth, and with this in mind, the IPA is continuing its work to identify innovators who are contributing to Africa’s sustainable development and creating solutions to the continent’s everyday challenges ,” said Mujawamariya at a recent innovation roundtable in Nigeria.
According to a press release on the IPA website, the initiative is “focused on promoting African home-grown innovation, scaling them up within Africa to fuel change and overall development for Africa and its people and compete on global platforms.”
In this light, the 2014 IPA prize focuses on these categories:
- Agriculture and agribusiness
- Environment, energy and water
- Health and wellbeing
- Manufacturing and service industry
Only innovations developed by Africans, for Africans, are eligible to enter the competition, however this does mean that Africans in the diaspora can apply, if their innovations impact Africa.
Besides the US$100 000 first prize, the initiative also awards two runners-up with US$25 000 each.
Previous winners include South African natural sustainable live-stock feed Agriprotein (2013) and Egypt’s Professor Mohamed Sanad (2012) for his in-phone and mobile antennae that operates on all frequency bands.