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AIF announces 10 nominees of the 2018 Innovation Prize for Africa awards

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) has announced the 10 nominees for this year’s $185 000 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) awards.

Among others they include innovators who have designed — a biodegradable seed tray for rice farming, a three-in-one urine-based test kit that examines vaginal infections, a membrane that essentially “shrink-wraps” faeces and a smart solar kiosk.

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In a statement yesterday (13 September), the AIF said it received more than 3000 applications from 52 African countries. The call for applications for this year’s awards, now in their seventh year, was under the theme “African innovation: Investing in Inclusive Innovation Ecosystems”.

AIF chairman Walter Fust said in the six years of the competition so far, the foundation has witnessed multi-million dollar businesses emerge from the awards.

More than 3000 applications were submitted for this year’s Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) awards

“Our theme this year prompts the need for increased collaboration between government, business, industry, innovation enablers and the community to further realise African prosperity and economic freedom,” he added.

The AIF has supported 55 IPA winners and nominees with $1-million and mobilised 9400 innovators from all 55 African countries. Through endorsement from AIF as well as exposure generated through the awards, past winners have gone on to secure $135-million worth of investments to grow and scale their businesses.

In addition, the AIF claims past winners and nominees of the awards have company valuations totalling over $200-million.

AIF managing director Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl said this year’s nominees are examples of African ingenuity and that each of their innovation is solving a real challenge in a key sector.

“Africa, and indeed the rest of the world, must keep an eye out — these innovations are ready to propel our continent’s global competitiveness in the market,” she said.

Here are the nominees:

Juslain Nomenjanahary Raharinaivo (Madagascar): The innovator has developed a biodegradable seed tray for rice farming.

Wassim Chahbani (Tunisia): The buried diffuser saves irrigation water, energy, and use of fertilisers, reducing zero water waste through evaporation. Water is injected directly to the roots, radically reducing water consumption levels used for irrigation.

Abdeladim Moumen and Dr Hassan Ait Benhassou (Morocco): Moumen and Benhassou’s innovation efficiently detects TB and Hepatitis C, it comprises two molecular tests for the rapid, accurate and effective detection and load quantification of both diseases.

Abraham Natukunda (Uganda): Natukunda’s innovation applies an analytics platform to supplement current tea processing procedures, using low power sensor devices to determine optimum levels of tea fermentation.

Dr Laud Anthony Basing (Ghana): Basing’s Incas Vaginal Discharge Kit is a three-in-one urine-based test kit that examines vaginal infections. Linked to a mobile application, it offers a convenient and fast solution for women experiencing vaginal infections.

Diana Yousef (Egypt): Yousef’s portable toulet makes use of a low-cost composite polymer membrane that essentially “shrink-wraps” faeces aggressively evaporating or “flushing” away the full water content of daily sewage output without need for added heat, energy or flush water.

Henri Nyakarundi (Rwanda): Nyakarundi has developed a smart solar kiosk that is equipped with the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and a custom designed router, offering device charging, virtual top-ups and low-cost connectivity.

Keolebogile Shirley Motaung (South Africa): Motaung has developed natural solutions for skeletal regeneration and repair.

Dr Fohla Mouftaou (Benin): Mouftaou has developed an organic and biodegradable fibre with the potential to absorb up to 17 times its weight. Made from water hyacinth, it can be used as a separator for hydrocarbons or as a cleaning agent for surfaces contaminated by various pollutants such as hydrocarbons, acids and paints.

Christian Mwijage (Tanzania): Mwijage’s company recycles and transforms post-consumer waste plastic into durable and environmentally friendly plastic lumber — using a chemical-free and energy conserving technology called for building, construction and furniture production.

Read more: AIF opens entries for Innovation Prize for Africa 2018 Awards
Read more: ‘Entrepreneur prize not bankrolled by Angolan sovereign wealth fund’
Read more: Egyptian wins $100 000 Innovation Prize for Africa with smart magnetic bearings
Read more: From smart bearings to group-buying app, meet Innovation Prize of Africa finalists
Read more: AIF reveals names of 10 shortlisted for $100,000 Innovation Prize for Africa

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