The shortlist for next year’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation has been announced by the Royal Academy of Engineering, with 16 candidates selected from across the continent.
Now in its fifth year, the prize recognises the work of young entrepreneurial engineers and provides funding and business mentorship to those shortlisted. Concepts that have made the grade this year include a smart glove that translates sign language to speech in real-time, a secure currency exchange platform that moves money between users instead of banks, and a ‘farm-in-a-box’ vertical garden that uses waste to grow food in small urban spaces.
After seven months’ mentoring and training, four finalists will be selected from the shortlist. In June 2019 the finalists will present their businesses to judges in front of a live audience in the Ugandan capital Kampala, after which one winner will receive £25,000, and three runners up will be awarded £10,000 each.
“The shortlist has come to represent the most talented engineers on the continent,” said Cameroonian entrepreneur Rebecca Enonchong, one of the judges on the Africa Prize panel. “Through the Africa Prize, we’ve seen cutting edge technologies and world-firsts develop into businesses that manufacture locally, and drive research and development on the continent. We can’t wait to meet the new group of engineering pioneers.”
The shortlisted candidates and technologies are:
3-D-3-P Industrial dryer, Professor Dele Sanni from Nigeria – an industrial food dryer that dries grain for livestock feed faster, and increases the nutritional value of food stocks
Baby Delivery Kits, Muzalema Mwanza from Zambia – disposable, affordable and comprehensive equipment that helps midwives deliver babies safely
Chanjoplus, Collince Oluoch from Kenya – an online platform that tracks immunisation data, helping health workers ensure all children are vaccinated
Elo-cart, Kenneth Guantai from Kenya – a battery powered system that recoups energy from motion to self-power hand carts, used by traders, farmers and health workers
Hybrid five-axis machine tool, Dr Lukas du Plessis from South Africa – a hybrid machine tool that increases productivity, but costs less than traditional machine tools to manufacture
JuaKaliSmart, James Ochuka from Kenya – an online platform that connects “JuaKali”, or informal artisans, directly to their customers
KAOSHI, Chukwunonso Arinze from Nigeria – an online platform that exchanges currencies peer-to-peer, cutting costs and waiting periods
Majik Water, Beth Koigi from Kenya – a technique for harvesting water from the air to provide a new source of affordable, clean drinking water for off-grid communities
Pelebox Smart Lockers, Neo Hutiri from South Africa – secure temperature-controlled lockers that eliminate medication queuing time for patients
Sign-IO, Roy Allela from Kenya – a smart-glove that tracks and translates sign language movements into speech in real time
Smart Brooder, George Kimani from Kenya – the system that takes the guess work out of poultry farming, automating heating systems according to animals’ ages
Smart Havens Africa, Anne Rweyora from Uganda – a combination of technologies that help women acquire their first homes affordably and sustainably
SolarKoodo, Safiatou Nana from Burkina Faso – a solar irrigation system that uniquely caters for semi-arid areas where precision and efficiency are essential
The Vertical Farm, Paul Matovu from Uganda – a ‘farm-in-a-box’ for urban areas, using urban waste to grow high yielding plants
WellNewMe, Dr Obi Igbokwe from Nigeria – an algorithmic approach to proactively identifying people at risk of contracting non-communicable diseases
Zenafri, Elizabeth Kperrun from Nigeria – an app that teaches toddlers basic language and numeracy skills in their native tongue