BrandArena: AIF announces nominees for Innovation Prize for Africa Awards 2015

Monday 13 April 2015

AIF announces nominees for Innovation Prize for Africa Awards 2015

What do an environmentally-friendly minicab, a water distillation system and a fire alert detector have in common?  They all represent outstanding innovation talent across Africa, applied for the celebrated Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) award this year, and are now being considered for the grand share prize of US$150 000!

Since its inaugural launch in 2011, IPA has gathered great momentum, and is now recognized for leading the innovation frontier in Africa by rewarding innovators for their home-grown, market-led innovations that contribute to Africa’s growth, development and prosperity.

This year, AIF received a record 925 applications from 41 countries for its prestigious IPA awards, surpassing the previous year’s entry record of 903. The awards ceremony will be held on 12-13 May in, Skhirat, Morocco, a country fast trending as an innovation hub in Africa. The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) is partnering with the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy to host the 4th edition of IPA which has received eminent patronage from His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

H.E. Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy for Morocco expressed his enthusiasm to be co-hosting the IPA 4th edition in Morocco: “We have a strong commitment with AIF to unlock the innovation potential of the continent. The ambition is to make Africa a juncture of innovative and prosperous nations.

"By focusing on the unchallenged role of innovation in the development of economies, Mr. Elalamy added that "in Morocco, the commitment to promote research and innovation mobilizes both the government and private sector decision makers who join their efforts to make the national innovation system a force for development.“

This year’s finalists showcase a diverse range of innovations from agriculture, to education and e-health. The 10 nominees for IPA 2015 are: Adnane Remmal from Morocco; Alex Mwaura Muriu, Kenya; David Gluckman, South Africa; Jean Bosco Kazirukanyo, Burundi; Johann Pierre Kok, South Africa; Kyai Mullei, Kenya
Others are: Lesley Erica Scott, South Africa; Marc Arthur Zang, Cameroon; Neil Du Preez, South Africa, and Samuel O. Otukol, Uganda.

The panel of highly qualified IPA judges examined all entries through a rigorous process which included validation by technical experts. The calibre of entries this year was particularly impressive, says Chairman of the IPA 2015 selection panel, McLean Sibanda, noting that IPA has continued to gain importance and greater recognition each year, seen in the quality and depth of applications: “Shortlisting the top 10 was no easy task as each of the top 25 innovations are a response to a need or challenge within our communities. The IPA is indeed an important platform - not only for showcasing Africa’s ability to innovate to address its own challenges, but also for celebrating Africa’s ingenuity”.

Three winners will be chosen and announced in a glittering ceremony to be held in Skhirat, Morocco on 13 May 2015. The US$150 000 cash prize is shared between the winners, with the most outstanding innovation receiving US$100 000, and two prizes of US$25 000 for innovation with the highest social impact and best business potential respectively.

Reflecting on IPA achievements in catalysing the innovation spirit in Africa, Jean Claude Bastos de Morais, AIF and IPA Founder said: “The IPA has come a long way since its inception in 2011. The first major milestone was achieved in 2012 when the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) passed a resolution to promote an innovation society for Africa’s socio-economic transformation. Today the IPA is playing a fundamental role in showcasing the continent’s immense potential to become thriving innovation economies.  Year after year, the innovations that are presented for the IPA comprise high-value African solutions with positive socio-economic impact, and this year is no exception.”

Besides rewarding excellence in innovation on 13 May 2015, Skhirat will be showcasing yet more innovation through an innovation marketplace, an innovative Ideas Machine workshop targeting young visionaries and a press conference. With an impressive line-up of CNBC coverage, quality entertainment from Africa’s number 1 music extraordinaire, Youssour N’Dour, an innovator himself, and Lerato Mbele, presenter of Africa Business Report on BBC World News compering this ceremony, IPA 2015 promises to be the calendar event of Africa.

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