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The Royal Academy of Engineering has announced the 16 innovators shortlisted for this year’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. According to Africa Prize judge and Cameroonian entrepreneur Rebecca Enonchong, the shortlist has come to represent “the most talented engineers on the continent”.

This year’s shortlist is made up of innovators from Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. Burkina Faso’s entry is SolarKoodo, a solar irrigation system that caters for semi-arid areas where precision and efficiency are essential.

Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation shortlisted entries announced

Nigeria’s shortlisted entries are for the 3-D-3-P Industrial dryer, WellNewMe, Zenafri, and Kaoshi. 3-D-3-P Industrial dryer dries grain for livestock feed faster and increases the nutritional value of food stocks. WellNewMe is an application that uses an algorithmic approach to proactively identify people at risk of contracting non-communicable diseases. Zenafri is an app that teaches toddlers basic language and numeracy skills in their native tongue, while Kaoshi is an online P2P currency exchange platform that helps users cut costs and waiting periods.

Kenya’s innovators have come up with Smart Brooder, a system that takes the guess work out of poultry farming by automating heating systems according to an animal’s ages, and Majik Water, a technique for harvesting water from the air which provides off-grid communities with a new source for affordable, clean drinking water.

Roy Allela from Kenya has developed a smart-glove, called Sign-IO, that tracks and translates sign language movements into speech in real-time. Chanjoplus is a Kenyan online platform that tracks immunisation data and helps health workers ensure all children are vaccinated. Elo-Cart is a battery powered system that recoups energy from motion to self-power hand carts used by traders, farmers and health workers. The last Kenyan entry is JuaKaliSmart, an online platform that connects “JuaKali” or informal artisans directly to their customers.

South Africa’s shortlisted finalists include Neo Hutiri, who has developed Pelebox Smart Lockers, temperature-controlled lockers that eliminate medication queuing time for patients, and Lukas du Plessis for his hybrid five-axis machine tool. This machine tool increases productivity, but costs less to manufacture than traditional machine tools.

Smart Havens Africa in Uganda has been shortlisted for providing self-sustainable housing solutions to vulnerable and low- to moderate-income people who are unable to secure long-term affordable housing in the market. The Vertical Farm is a “farm-in-a-box” for urban areas, using urban waste to grow high yield plants.

Zambia’s Baby Delivery Kits, developed by Muzalema Mwanza’s social enterprise Safe Motherhood Alliance, offer disposable and affordable equipment that helps midwives deliver babies safely.

After seven months of mentoring and training, four finalists will be selected from the shortlist. In June 2019, these finalists will present their businesses to judges in front of a live audience in Kampala, Uganda, after which one winner will receive $32 000, and three runners up will be awarded $13 000) each.

Image credit: https://www.raeng.org.uk/grants-and-prizes/international-research-and-collaborations/africa-prize

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