Ten innovative social entrepreneurs in Africa

Innovation-Prize

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) recently announced the finalists of the prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2014. Like the years before, the 10 finalists have been chosen for their practical, innovative solutions to local problems that are unique to the African continent.

From South Africa to Togo, the finalists were chosen from almost 700 applications from 42 countries and produce inspiring innovations from a domestic waste biogas system to a wafer matrix for pediatric antiretroviral (ARV) drug treatment.

To be announced on 5 May, the winner will receive US$100 000 for the best innovation based on marketability, originality, scalability, social impact and clear business potential with runner-ups receiving US$25 000.

“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.

These are the finalists:

Ashley Uys from South Africa is responsible for the OculusID Impairment Screening device, which measures pupil response to light emissions. The device could be applied to help measure substance abuse, physiological defects and even fatigue. The device is also said to be a far less invasive procedure than existing methods.

Kenya’s Daniel Gitau Thairu has created a new type of biogas digester which utilises any material capable of decomposing instead of relying on animal dung to generate gas. The Domestic Waste Biogas System uses materials such as dirty water, leftover food, spoiled grain, and vegetable and fruit peelings. This makes biogas, as an alternative source of energy, usable by households that cannot afford animals.

On the subject of agriculture, Elise Rasel Cloete from South Africa has developed software that’s programmed to capture, store and trace data about livestock and enables data to be captured in real-time. The GMP Traceability Management Software CC is then stored in an eartag placed on livestock and backed up on a remote server.

Joshua Okello from Kenya has created the WinSenga, which is a low-cost mobile-phone-based antenatal diagnosis kit that captures fetal heart beat sounds and provides a diagnosis which is sent to the mother via SMS. The data can also be uploaded to cloud storage.

Togo’s Logou Minsob has created a device called the Foufoumix. The device is a small electrical food processor that generates discreet, quick and hygienic foufou in eight minutes, substantially reducing the amount of time needed to prepare the popular West African dish, while also enhancing the hygienic conditions during production.

Another South African, Dr Nicolaas Duneas, is responsible for the Altis OBM. It’s the world’s first injectable bone-graft product containing a complex mix of various bone growth compounds derived from porcine (pig). It is used to stimulate the host’s own tissue regeneration system in a way that leads to the healing of a fracture or bone void, much in the same way as occurs in a normal unassisted fracture healing processes.

Maman Abdou Kane from Niger has created a Horticultural Tele-Irrigation system that allows people to remotely control their market garden irrigation system through a mobile or landline regardless of geographic location.

The Aybar BBM is a low-cost farming device that can be used by farmers to plough fields that are usually waterlogged and helps them easily drain the water. Created by Melesse Temesgen from Ethiopia, this device turns soils or fields that were otherwise unavailable for farming into high yielding fields.

Farmking Mobile Multi-crop Processor, designed by Sulaiman Bolarinde Famro from Nigeria, uses centrifugal forces to process cassava, sweet potatoes, soy, she-nuts, grains and cereals. The extractor is designed to replace the present crude fermentation and pressing technology, which is extremely slow and wasteful and offers limited output and profitability. The extractor reduces a process that normally takes 3 to 4 days into a 5-minute process offering higher quality product outputs.

Viness Pillay from South Africa is behind the WaferMatTM — a tasty paediatric formulation of ARV therapy in the form of a wafer that dissolves within three seconds of being placed in the mouth. The wafer makes the process of administering the drug to children easier and also makes absorption more efficient.

This post first appeared on VentureBurn on April 10, 2014, with the title “These are the ten inspiring finalists of Innovation Prize for Africa 2014.”  

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