Software to digitise African languages, low-cost drones, and a sweat test for Tuberculosis are just some of the innovations in the running for the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA).
Run by the Africa Innovation Fund, the price seeks to distribute ‘a grand share-prize of US$185,000 and incentives to spur growth and prosperity in Africa through home-grown solutions.’
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For the first time, innovators from Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Liberia are in the running, alongside change-makers from Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. Four women innovators have been nominated. According to the organisers, the prize, now in its sixth year had a record number of entries: 2,530 from across 48 African countries.
The prize has championed African solutions for African problems. Last year, the plant-based anti-malarial drug Api-Palu won the $100,000 prize. This year is no different.
‘We want to promote more investment in home-grown innovations as well as intra-African collaboration and trade to allow the scaling up of viable innovations across borders,’ says Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, IPA Director. These innovations span communications and smart phone technology, healthcare as well as artificial intelligence and mechanical solutions.
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The prize and its nominees are testament to the innovation and creativity on the continent. Dogbeh-Chris Nyan from Liberia has been nominated for his new technology which can detect from three to seven diseases in under 40 minutes – including Yellow Fever, malaria and Ebola, which are of concern in certain parts of West Africa.
The judging and ceremony for the Innovation Prize for Africa 2017 will take place this year in Accra, Ghana. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana, who met with IPA founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, will deliver the keynote address during the awards ceremony on July 18.