The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation has announced the finalists for 2023 which include scalable engineering innovations created to address high gas prices by retrofitting motorbikes to run on batteries; easily diagnose and treat uterine health issues without anaesthetic; recycle lithium-ion laptop batteries into power packs for affordable electricity; and connect local communities through a digital rescue network to form community policing groups
Now in its ninth year, the Africa Prize, founded by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014, is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation. This year’s finalists are from Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, each of which are home to a previous Africa Prize winner. One of these nations will therefore see the selection of its second Africa Prize recipient in 2023. The winner will be awarded £25,000, with the other three finalists receiving £10,000 each.
Chukwuemeka Eze, a Nigerian electrical engineer, developed Electric Mobility, an e-mobility service which converts gas-powered three-wheeled motorbikes to run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Edmund Wessels, a South African biomedical engineer, developed FlexiGyn, a battery-powered portable handheld device enabling gynaecologists to diagnose and treat a woman’s uterus without anaesthetic, increasing women’s access to reproductive healthcare.
Gibson Kawago, a Tanzanian electrical engineer, developed the WAGA Power Pack, a rechargeable power source created from recycled laptop lithium-ion batteries, providing a reliable and affordable electricity source.
Anatoli Kirigwajjo, a Ugandan software engineer, developed YUNGA, a local digital security network that connects neighbours to each other and police within a 20km radius via a physical device, smartphone app, or SMS service, providing security at a low cost.
In a first for the prize, the final will take place in Accra, Ghana, on 6 July 2023, with two Ghanaian innovators competing for the public voted ‘One to Watch’ Award which carries a £5,000 cash prize.
Obed Zar from Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal District in the Western Region developed Aquaset, a smart water management device uses sensors to prevent water loss and water pump breakdowns, and ensures sustainable withdrawal of water from wells, guaranteeing availability in water-scarce areas. Emmanuel Ofori Devi a graduate from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology developed MEDBOX, a healthcare monitoring system records a patient’s vital signs and transmits them to healthcare professionals, who then provide remote medical advice.
Local supporters, industry peers, engineering and entrepreneurial enthusiasts, innovation hubs, investors, as well as media are encouraged to attend the Africa Prize final free of charge at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra or watch online here. An online exhibition showcasing the Africa Prize can be viewed here.
The other nine ‘One to Watch’ Award candidates are:
The finalists were chosen by the Royal Academy of Engineering after all the shortlisted candidates for 2023 received support over eight months to help them accelerate their businesses. This included comprehensive and tailored entrepreneurship training, sector specific engineering mentoring, communications support, pitching opportunities and access to the Academy’s network of high profile, experienced engineers and business experts in the UK and across Africa. The 2023 finalists will pitch their innovations to a panel of five judges and a live and online audience.
This year, the judges are:
Guest speakers will include:
Africa Prize judge, Dr Ibilola Amao, said, “Each of the 15 shortlisted innovators demonstrated an understanding of engineering as a tool to improve the quality of the lives of members of their communities. Energy and environmental solutions featured heavily among this year’s cohort, and it was clear that our innovators are committed to sustainable solutions for Africa’s development. Our four finalists distinguished themselves with their resolve, resilience and initiative during the Academy’s training programme, and we are privileged to endorse these proudly African entrepreneurs engaged in world-class innovation.”
To date, the Royal Academy of Engineering has supported more than 130 entrepreneurs across 20 African countries through the Africa Prize with a rigorous business training programme and lifelong support through the Africa Prize alumni network. More than 70% of the alumni’s engineering and technology businesses now generate revenue. Between them the Africa Prize alumni have raised more than USD 14 million in grants and equity funding, and created more than 3,600 jobs, almost half of them for women. The Africa Prize runs annually and is designed to bring together individual innovators changing their communities, to form a network that can transform a continent.
The 2024 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is now open for entries. Individuals and small teams living and working in sub-Saharan Africa with a scalable engineering innovation to solve a local challenge are invited to enter. The deadline for entries is 25 July 2023 (4pm BST). Visit the ‘How to Apply’ guide on the Africa Prize website and submit applications through the online grants system.