Seven entries shortlisted for 1st Innovation Prize for Africa

Seven entries from a total of 458 submitted for consideration for the inaugural Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) awards have been shortlisted and stand a chance to win the grand prize of $ 100,000.

The awards, organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Innovation Foundation (AIF), will also see the runner-up entry walking away with $ 50,000 during the awards ceremony slated for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 26.

The ceremony will be held on the sidelines of a Conference of African Finance Ministers who will be meeting in Ethiopia in March to discuss the actions needed to turn Africa into a New Growth Pole for the global economy.

The annual award is designed to promote the pursuit of science, technology and engineering careers among young African men and women and especially to develop innovative solutions with a great potential for commercialisation.

The 2012 IPA will consist of two awards given to the two selected innovators/entrepreneurs in the following three thematic areas: ICTs; Green technology (energy and water); Health & Food security (including Agriculture).

The seven shortlisted entries are:

1.        Zeinou Abdelyamine, an industrial chemistry graduate from Algeria and founder of his own company, Bit Bait. He has two patents on manufacturing of insecticides at INAPI in Algeria. He is actively involved in research and development of environmentally friendly insecticides and rodenticides.

2.        Rui Edgar Conceição Bram, Chief of ICT Department at National Police of Angola. He is currently developing the QINet -Digital Network of Qualification” for use in Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific region. The program consists of a global platform with a set of integrated applications that allows the automatic introduction, management and distribution of multilingual educational content in electronic or printed format.

3.        Alemayehu Hadis Getahun is an Associate Professor at Jimma University, Ethiopia. He has developed a “Fuel briquette production from coffee husk and pulp – a green and cleaner production approach for coffee waste management.” A carbonizer and an extruder machine were locally designed and fabricated at the Jimma rural technology promotion and research center and used to convert biomasses of coffee waste into fuel briquettes of required dimensions, at a very high rate.

4.        Joel Nwakaire, lecturer in the department of Agricultural and Bioresources Engineering University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He has developed an “optimized automated biodiesel continuous production plant”, which can be used for processing various types of vegetable oils. The plant has been tested using non-edible vegetable oil Algae and Jatropha producing good results.

5.        Mohamed Sanad, professor at the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, Egypt. He has developed a low-cost, lightweight, low wind-load, foldable/deployable, multi-broadband base station antenna; using dual parabolic cylindrical reflectors with novel small size broadband resonant feeds.

6.        Su Kahumbu Stephanou, social entrepreneur and founder of Green Dreams Ltd and Green Dreams Tech Ltd companies based in Kenya. She has developed the iCow application, which is an SMS and voice-based mobile phone application for small-scale farmers in Africa.

7.        Evans Muchika Wadongo, founding Chair and Executive Director of Sustainable Development For All-Kenya (S.D.F.A-Kenya). He has developed the ‘Use Solar, Save Lives’ program which involves the design, production and distribution of Solar Powered Lanterns dubbed “Mwanga Bora” to poor rural households without electricity, and he helps communities set up economic ventures from the money initially spent on kerosene.

This annual prize honors and encourages innovative achievements that contribute toward developing new products, increasing efficiency or saving costs in Africa. IPA acknowledges and encourages innovators and entrepreneurs in their endeavors, since they are one group of stakeholders that have not been considered under Africa’s development cooperation agenda.

UNECA is implementing the Information and Communication Technology and Science and Technology for Development (ISTD) program to meet its mandate to advance economic and social development in Africa. ISTD manages the African Technology Development and Transfer Network (TDTNet), the African Science, Technology and Innovation Endowment Fund (ASTIEF), the African Science to Business Challenge (ASBC) and the Technology in Government Award (TIGA) and is experienced in addressing Africa’s special needs, emerging global challenges and hosting and managing initiatives in Africa. For more information, please visit here.

AIF, on the other hand, seeks to support innovations and other novel initiatives with potential of contributing to sustainable development of African countries. This includes supporting home-grown innovations, facilitating technology transfer as well as supporting other platforms that enhance the exchange of ideas and collaboration among researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers. AIF also wishes to promote transparent processes and procedures within the public sector and combat illegitimate appropriation and dissipation of resources within both the private and public domains. AIF’s areas of activity encompass programs & projects in the fields of: Innovation & Access to Technologies, Governance, Education & Culture and Health.For more information, please go visit here.



  1. wonderful, you have made a fatal mistake, MR. Rui Bram in the list of nominated , he will not give chance to others, he is one of the best systems concept engineers in africa , QINET , it’s a state of art in engennering and tecnology. he is the winner without doubt.

    • Let’s wait and see what happens on March 26 @ Sheraton Addis. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the 2 Kenyan nominees to walk away with prizes though. Thanks for your comment Stern David. Keep reading and commenting…

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