The innovators, who made the final cut out of the 700 applications from 42 countries, have created practical solutions to some of the problems the continent has found unyielding, representing Africans’ potential to address the challenges that are unique to the continent.
“As global leaders gather for the 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa to discuss approaches to inclusive growth and job creation, the IPA 2014 innovators demonstrate that the best way to achieve equitable economic growth for all Africans is to invest in local innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, founder of the African Innovation Foundation and the IPA.
Innovations by the finalists include: wafer matrix for paediatric antiretroviral (ARV) drug treatment and domestic waste biogas system.
Winners of the IPA 2014 will be announced on May 5 in Abuja, Nigeria, at an awards ceremony that will have Nigerian minister of finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the keynote speaker.
At the ceremony, the coordination minister of Africa’s largest economy will highlight, among other things, the importance of using innovation as a tool to unlock the great potentials of Africa for sustainable economic growth and development.
Marketability, scalability, social impact, clear business potential and originality will be used in picking the best innovation, which will win $100,000, while a runner-up to be chosen for the best commercial potential will receive $25,000. The innovation with the highest social impact will also earn a price of $25,000.
South African Ashley Uys, founder of Real World Diagnostics, made the final 10 for his OculusID Impairment Screening, designed to measure pupil response to light emissions. Three other South Africans made the list: Elise Rasel Cloete made the GMP Traceability Management Software CC; Dr, Nicolaas Duneas made the Altis Osteogenic Bone Matrix (Altis OBM); while Viness Pillay made WaferMatTM.
Two Kenyans were also part of the final list, Daniel Gitau Thairu made the cut with his Domestic Waste Biogas System, while Joshua Okello’s low-cost mobile-phone-based antenatal diagnosis kit, WinSenga, booked him a place in the top 10.
Nigerian Sulaiman Bolarinde Famro made the Farmking Mobile Multi-Crop Processor, while Logou Minsob from Togo made the Foufoumix: an electrical device designed to replace the mortar and pestles used in preparing the popular West African dish, foufou.
Other innovators include Maman Abdou Kane from Niger and Melesse Temesgen from Ethiopia.