By Iminza Keboge
Published January 20, 2016
An initiative that aims to increase the prosperity of Africans through creativity shall be held in Botswana in June 2016.
Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), that marks its fifth year, is touted as promoting the “Made in Africa” spirit.
The 5th IPA is presented by African Innovation Foundation (AIF) in collaboration with Botswana’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology and the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH).
To date, IPA is said to have attracted more than 6000 innovators from 50 African countries, making it an all-Africa initiative. The organisers say the 5th edition of the event in 2016 shall extend beyond the Awards ceremony.
“AIF is offering several avenues of opportunity for local, national, regional and international growth and exposure to Africa’s next cadre of innovators,” says a media release. “The event will provide an unprecedented platform for African innovators and innovation enablers to network, share knowledge, explore business opportunities and boost collaboration.”
Botswana’s selection as host country for IPA 2016, the organisers explain, is seen in its commitment towards building its national innovation ecosystem. The Government of Botswana (GOB) is said to be “supporting the knowledge economy through the development of a 57-acre Science Park, dubbed the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH). The Icon Building in the BIH Park will be launched in September 2016, as Botswana celebrates yet another milestone; 50 years of Independence.”
“Hosting IPA 2016 and celebrating African ingenuity in Gaborone will afford Botswana an opportunity to showcase its commitment to putting innovation at the centre of its development strategy,” says Nonofo Molefhi, Botswana’s Minister for Infrastructure, Science and Technology. “We are greatly honored to have been selected to host IPA 2016 and look forward to showcasing the positive strides Botswana is making in the innovation landscape.”
IPA is considered Africa’s leading innovation initiative based on its track record since its launch with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the endorsement by Ministers attending the Africa Union (AU)/ECA conference in 2012. IPA recognizes, rewards and mobilizes for African innovators through promoting home-grown, market-driven solutions addressing intractable challenges in agriculture, health and well-being, manufacturing and service industry, ICTs and environment, energy and water. IPA has been successfully celebrated in African major capitals representing African regions: Addis Ababa (2011), Cape Town (2013), Abuja (2014), and Skhirat, Morocco (2015).
Walter Fust, AIF Chairman of the Board, says, “We are delighted to collaborate with the Government of Botswana in celebrating African ingenuity. With its many inspiring and success stories, Botswana is an excellent choice to host the 5th edition of IPA, helping us continue to catalyze the innovation spirit in Africa”.
IPA 2016 will offer the following prizes and incentives to winners and applicants:
- Grand prize of US$100 000
- Second Prize of US$25 000
- Special Prize for Social Impact US$25 000
- A voucher for each IPA nominee of US$5 000
- Business development support for top 10 young innovators selected post Awards event, and
- Business development support for top 10 women innovators selected post Awards event.
Some 3600 applications from 50 countries were received for IPA 2016. Judges will select Africa’s new crop of ingenuity from 985 successful submissions spanning 46 countries through critique, validation, interview and consensus.