Why do people assume that Africa is a backwater in terms of technological capabilities when there are over 3 million cell users in Nigeria alone? Not to mention some of the strides in terms of mobile entertainment and online education that we’ve witnessed in the past 6 months alone. These finalists are some of the best and brightest minds around, and worth keeping tabs on if you’re looking to REALLY invest in Africa. Story below:
The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) has named the finalists of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2014.
According to AIF, the 10 African innovators have created practical solutions to some of the continent’s most intractable problems, from a domestic waste biogas system to a wafer matrix for paediatric antiretroviral (ARV) drug treatment.
Chosen from almost 700 applications from 42 countries, the finalists for the IPA 2014 represent Africans’ potential to address the challenges that are unique to the continent.
The winners of the IPA 2014 will be announced at an awards ceremony on 5 May in Abuja, Nigeria, where keynote speaker Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s minister of finance, will highlight the importance of innovation to unlock Africa’s potential for sustainable development and economic growth.
The winner will receive $100 000 for the best innovation based on marketability, originality, scalability, social impact and clear business potential. A runner up will receive $25 000 for the best commercial potential and another winner will receive $25 000 as a special prize for innovation with the highest social impact. Prior to the awards ceremony, a roundtable featuring innovation experts will take place, to address the theme “A Path to Building Industrial Nation Skillsets in Africa”.
“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,” says Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, founder of the African Innovation Foundation and the IPA.
The AIF believes that the best solutions to the challenges Africans face on a daily basis can and will come from Africans themselves, and innovation is the key. The IPA selection committee represents private equity investors, seed funders, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, innovation catalysts and development leaders who are looking for ideas that move Africa forward. The call for applications for IPA 2015 will be announced in July.