The UK Royal Academy of Engineering has announced the 16 shortlisted innovators from eight countries for the tenth Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
Some of the shortlisted innovations for the 2024 Africa Prize include roof tiles made from recycled plastic, early detection of agricultural pests and diseases, environmental monitoring of chicken farms and a fabric made from fungi grown on human waste.
Other innovations are aimed at healthier methods of cooking, and include low-smoke briquettes made from biowaste, a solar-powered induction oven and hob and a biodigester that uses organic waste to generate gas.
The clean energy solutions include a large-scale power pack made from repurposed electric vehicle batteries, a solar dryer to enhance small fish farming and converted electric motorbikes with replaceable batteries.
Further, other innovations include an automated storage locker, a domestic alert for deaf people, a plug-in device to transform any screen into a computer and a healthcare platform based on WhatsApp.
“Engineering is a fundamental enabler of development and is linked to all the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, impacting healthcare, education, gender equality and the environment.
“Engineering is also a driver of the African Union’s 50-year development blueprint African Agenda 2063 for supporting the continent’s goal of being integrated, prosperous and peaceful, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena,” the academy said.
The shortlisted innovators benefit from support including business incubation, mentoring, fundraising and communication, and gain access to the Academy’s global network of high-profile engineering and business experts in the UK, Africa and beyond.
“Winning the prize opened our business up to many opportunities and provided exposure for our solution to the local and international market,” said 2020 Africa Prize winner and Côte d’Ivoire innovator Charlette N’Guessan.
Further, four finalists will be chosen from the shortlist to present their innovations and business plans to judges at the Africa Prize final in Nairobi, Kenya, in June 2024. The winner will receive £25 000, with three runners-up awarded £10 000 each.
Additionally, a one-to-watch award of £5 000 will be made for the most impactful pitch, as voted for by the audience. In 2024, the audience will include some 80 Africa Prize alumni from the past ten years.
“The 16 innovators shortlisted for this year’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation are contributing to key Sustainable Development Goals, including no poverty, health and wellbeing, quality education, affordable and clean energy, reduced inequalities and climate action,” Africa Prize judge Sewu-Steve Tawia said.
“What sets these 16 people apart is their determination to solve local challenges, contribute to job creation and seize the opportunity to scale their innovation across Africa. In its tenth year, the Africa Prize is proud to elevate these local changemakers to global engineering innovators,” he said.