The Innovation Prize for Africa has once again inspired a continent. After various events promoting innovation and creativity, the final ceremony took place on Tuesday 18th July, in Accra. We have been waiting with anticipation to find out who the winners of this years IPA addition would be, but the excitement comes from the huge variety of innovations that made it into the shortlisted 10. The health sector, agriculture, drones, innovative software and the energy sector were all represented in the top ten, showing that the continent is equipped to come up with solutions for Africa as well as the rest of the world.
In this blog we will discuss the winners and give a little analysis. If you want to read more about the other nominees, check out our three other blogs.
This years winner, and receiver of $100,000, was Prof. El-Shafei, who we had not mentioned in our previous blogs. (We had a feeling he may win, so held back for his potential glorious moment!) His innovation is maybe not as ‘sexy’ as some of the others, but it will make an enormous difference to production of energy in Africa and the rest of the world. He has created a smart bearing which changes its characteristics as it operates. According to the IPA website, the bearing “consists of a magnetic bearing Continue reading “Did You Know IPA rewarded its winners with $150,000!”→
At Inventive Africa, we like to give supporters of African Innovation a chance to tell their story. We came across Afrik+Digital Marketplace (#ADMP) who offer support to innovations across Africa. Mireille Kooh, who has been called the ‘First-Lady’ of the internet operates from her native Cameroon, overcoming disability, is a feminist digital icon with an amazing Social Media footprint across Africa. She is nominated for ‘Web personality of the year 2017’ and has shown tremendous resilience in a very competitive environment: She serves currently as ADMP Super-CEO. She agreed to talk to us about #ADMP.
Inventive Africa – What is ADMP and how did it start?
Mireille Kooh – #ADMP was founded By Hermann Djoumessi, MA a Fintech Social Media cryptoanalyst. Hermann teaches and consults at INSEEC (Paris), American Business School (Paris), CNAM (Paris), City of London and is a Bloomberg software guest-speaker.
We act as:
the Prime African Fintech & Startup newsfeed on Social Media (Facebook group and pages, Twitter, Reddit, Medium, Whatsapp and Google+). We have a network of more than 20000 active startupers.
We act as a Virtual incubator for African startups and will soon start financing them via Bitcoin/Ethereum ICO’s.
We are Pan-African and Afro-Optimists by nature, wanting from day one that, for example, a startupper in Nigeria, looking for a coder in Tunisia, could raise its funds in Egypt, whilst being incubated in Uganda, to develop a South-African App.
There are some really sh*t ways to produce fuel! Sucking it out of the earth in the form of oil or gas is causing is putting enormous strain on your climate, with records weather records broken every year and melt at the polar caps increasing in speed. But some sh*t methods are actually good! (But maybe a little smelly)
In Gauteng, which is not far from Johannesburg and Pretoria in South Africa, cows are currency. Herds of cattle, waiting to become streak and beef and beef burgers, populate the green pastures. A lot of grazing cows means, a lot of cow pats (dung)! And therein comes the innovation.
The dung from the cows, 120 tonnes a day, is mixed with 60 tons of paper, yoghurt, fruit and abattoir waste by Bio2Watt. This steaming pile of dung is broken down by bacteria which produce methane, which powers an engine, which in turn produces 4.4 Megawatts of electricity. This amount is enough to power a village of 1500 people.
South Africa have been suffering from an energy crisis in recent years, and ageing power infrastructure is not helping. The system created by Bio2Watt provides a decentralised solution that can be created anywhere there is access to the raw materials.
In this case, as well as providing electricity for the cow farmer next door, who was not able to expand his business because of power restraints, Bio2Watt deliver their power to BMW, who’s policy is to purchase 100% renewable energy for all of their plants. The power from Bio2Watt has enabled BMW’s Rosslyn plant to cover 30% of their energy with the biogas.
The Innovation Prize for Africa is renowned for shortlisting exciting innovations that create African solutions for African problems. Due to the amount of incredible innovations announced this year, for the Ghana edition of the IPA, it was not possible to fit all of them into 1 or even 2 blogs! So this is the third part of IPA 2017 blog!
The IPA not only showcases innovative startups from around the world. It also gives a chance for the country it is based in, in this case Ghana, to promote and encourage innovation. Ghana is a country that is pushing innovation. Lots of tech hubs and incubators are popping up around the country, such as iSpace that we have mentioned various times (There are some more videos to come of their entrepreneurs). IPA will offer many of these innovators a platform to showcase their projects to international media, as well as receive coaching on how to progress.
If you want to read about some of the short listed innovations check out Part One and Part Two of this blog. If you have already seen them, keep reading to find out about the other innovations.
Lakheni buys into the success of the collective model (which we wrote about some examples here. When people can pool their money together to bulk buy products, Lakheni found that households are able to save up to 20% on their groceries. Poor communities often pay more, relatively, than more affluent communities, as the goods are often packaged in to smaller sizes to make the more affordable (but more expensive per amount) So, if households, church members, friends, family, or any group gets together, substantial savings can be made.
Once a group has signed up they can then make their order. Each month, a hamper will arrive to a designated destination where it can be picked up and distributed. Not only does this service save individuals money, on groceries, but they save time and money by not having to go to the store and having their groceries delivered to a convenient central location.
Collectives are being utilised across the continent, but in some cases not efficiently. Many people come together to pool their money together in unions, but instead of use it for something useful, like developing their farms, sourcing internet access, or to bulk buy food produce, it is used for funeral arrangements. There need to priorities, and Lakheni is enabling that.
3. Voice Recognition and Speech Synthesis Software for African Languages by Omolabake Adenle
I am really excited about this technology for many reasons. Across the continent, many people still communicate in their local dialects. These dialects can be like time capsules, with links to the long ago caught up in everyday conversation. For a researcher like me, going and interviewing individuals about the past was challenging, and the language barrier heightened the challenges.
With this software, which can understand and digitise local dialects, it would have been far easier to capture the the oral histories of my interviewees. Whilst this technology already exists for many Western and Asian languages, African languages have lagged behind. With the exponential spread of mobile technology and internet access, there is now the commercial possibility to use this technology in Africa.
It is not only useful for my plea for everyone to go out and interview their elders about the past. (Please do so, or we will lose so much oral history to the ancestors) With this tech, now people can interact with mobile phones and other digital applications, enabling those that do not speak English, French, Portuguese, etc etc, to interact and be part of the digital economy.
Innovations come in all shapes and sizes, all of which are important. In the case of the 10 short listed by they are excellent and destined for success and making a big difference in Africa and beyond. Being innovative, and developing ones ideas is important for another reason. I have met a lot of people and spoken about their innovations. Many of them may not succeed at this juncture, but, they will have learnt a lot about being an entrepreneur and about the creative process. Being creative takes practice, and I hope the IPA and all of Inventive Africa inspires people across access to give their ideas a chance!
If you know of an innovation that is changing lives, or you want to be a guest blogger get in contact with us on Twitter @InventiveAfrica or via email, and please share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook. Also, we have a new Facebook page! Please like it, and carry on the dialogue about African Innovation there!