Business Hilights
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Nigerian not amongst 10 nominees for African Innovation Foundation awards

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) Monday announced its top 10 nominees for its prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2018 awards. This year’s Call for Applications with its theme “African innovation: Investing in Inclusive Innovation Ecosystems” attracted more than 3000 applications from 52 African countries.
This year’s innovations address critical challenges in ICT, agri-business, public health and the environment/ energy sectors; the top 10 nominees reflect Pan African flavour of IPA with representation from North, West, East, Central and Southern Africa, including Madagascar.
It was gathered that while building on the AIF mandate, submissions this year demonstrated significant breakthroughs in ICT, agri-business, public health and the environment/ energy sectors to improve the lives and economic prospects of Africans.
The AIF chairman, Walter Fust, noted in an interview that “Now in its seventh year running, we have witnessed multi-million-dollar businesses emerging from the IPA initiative, with health, environment/energy and agricultural innovations leaving imprints across the African continent and beyond. 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.”
The IPA initiative has grown from strengthen to strength mobilizing, rewarding and honoring top African innovators whilst also building strategic partnerships with innovation enablers to strengthen innovation ecosystems in Africa. To date, AIF has supported 55 IPA winners/nominees with US$ 1 million+ and mobilized 9 400+ innovators from all 55 African countries. AIF endorsement and exposure generated through IPA have seen past winners securing over US$135 million worth of investments to grow and scale their businesses. IPA past winners and nominee company valuations amount to US$200 million+.
Also speaking, Managing Director of AIF, Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl who has steered the IPA program since its establishment in 2011, said “We are proud of the impressive innovations that made it to the top 10 this year. They are evident examples of African ingenuity and each 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! Furthermore, these top 10 nominees are a great reminder that if given access to capital, Africans are capable of solving African challenges whilst also contributing to the rest of the world.”
The top 10 IPA nominees whose innovations are in the sectors of agri-business, public health and well-being, ICT, energy, environment and water as follows:
From Madagascar is biodegradable seed tray for rice farming by Juslain Nomenjanahary Raharinaivo; Rice is a staple food in many African countries, constituting a major part of the diet. With an ongoing demand for increased rice production, some African countries are not self-sufficient.
From Tunisia is Buried Diffuser by Mr. Wassim Chahbani: Irrigated systems play a major role in sustaining livelihoods in Africa and the world over. Water in agricultural use is critical for crop yields, and reducing consumption is necessary to increase the amount of available water for other uses.
Nominated from Morocco is Efficient detection of TB and Hepatitis C by Professor Abdeladim Moumen and Dr. Hassan Ait Benhassou: Hepatitis C and Tuberculosis (TB) are critical health burdens in Africa. Besides lack of available treatment, access to accurate and cost-effective diagnostic tests remains a challenge across the continent.
Uganda boosts of eNose sensor for tea processing, developed by Abraham Natukunda: This innovation applies an “eNose” and analytics platform to supplement current tea processing procedures using low power sensor devices to determine optimum levels of tea fermentation.
Ghana comes with Incas Vaginal Discharge Kit by Dr. Laud Anthony Basing: Incas Vagkit is a 3-in-1 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.
Egypt also come to the party with “iThrone” portable toilet by Dr. Diana Yousef: “We shrink it” is a revolutionary approach to removing un-piped sewage.
Rwanda, fast growing African nation in ICT is on the list with Mobile Shiriki Network by Henri Nyakarundi: The Shiriki Hub is a Smart Solar Kiosk, powered by strong solar panels and equipped with large capacity batteries, Internet of things (IoT) sensors, and a custom designed router, offering device charging, virtual top-ups, and low-cost connectivity.
From South Africa is Natural solutions for skeletal regeneration and repair by Prof. Keolebogile Shirley Motaung: A multi-method approach using natural products for skeletal regeneration and repair. La-Africa Soother (LAS) is a topical paste ointment for sportspeople as a natural anti-inflammatory cream to treat pain and inflammation.
All the way from Benin Republic is Reducing pollution in an eco-friendly way using GKSORB! By Dr Fohla Mouftaou: Water hyacinth is an environmental threat in many African countries, invading lakes, rivers, and agricultural fields.
Tanzania boosts of Waxy II Technology by Christian Mwijage: His Company recycles and transforms post-consumer waste plastic into durable and environmentally friendly plastic lumber using a chemical-free and energy conserving technology called “Waxy ӀӀ technology” for building, construction and furniture production.
Business Hilights recalls that IPA brings together 450+ movers and shakers representing African innovation ecosystems annually through this award. Six successful IPA editions have been hosted in every region in Africa in partnership with host country Governments as follows: 2012: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; 2013: Cape Town, South Africa; 2014: Abuja, Nigeria; 2015: Skhirat, Morocco; 2016: Gaborone, Botswana; and 2017: Accra, Ghana.