By Ogova Ondego
Published August 3, 2015
Top African innovators in science and technology stand to win US$150, 000 if they submit their initiatives to an all-Africa contest by October 31, 2015.
African Innovation Foundation (AIF), the organisers of the competition known as Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), say they are targeting applications from all the 54 countries in Africa. Women and youth are encouraged to participate. Application guidelines are on the IPA website, innovation.prizeforafrica.org/.
â€œOur dream is to see this competition grow, and with it, strengthen Africaâ€™s innovation ecosystem,” said Pauline Mujawamariya, Director of IPA, during the launch of the competition in the Swiss city of Zurich on August 3, 2015.
AIF, which in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) established IPA in 2011, says the aim of the prize is to “mobilize African innovators and entrepreneurs by providing US$ 150000 for market-oriented solutions that support African-led development. Through the IPA, the AIF acknowledges and encourages the endeavours of African innovators and entrepreneurs, and works to raise their profiles on the development agenda.”
Previous IPA ceremonies have been held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2012); Cape Town, South Africa (2013); Abuja, Nigeria (2014); and Skhirat, Morocco (2015).
“The grand share prize of US$150, 000,” AIF says, “will be split between the most impressive winners that can convince the AIF team of expert judges why their innovation must win. AIF is looking for unique, cutting-edge innovations (US$100, 000) that reflect positive social impact (US$25, 000) and have the potential to be transformed into a sustainable, commercial success (US$25, 000).”
While all participants who get nominated will “receive additional post-prize support to the value of US$5, 000 to take their innovations to a higher level,” AIF says it will also “introduce further post-prize opportunities for 10 young Africans and 10 women whose innovations are addressing pressing challenges in Africa.”