Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) the organizer of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation has announced its finalists for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation award. The finalists include Chukwuemeka Eze (Nigeria), Edmund Wessels (South Africa), Gibson Kawago (Tanzania), and Anatoli Kirigwajjo (Uganda) — who will compete for the £25,000 (approx. UGX116.8 million) cash prize, and the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation award.
NEW: We’re delighted to announce the four finalists for our 2023 #AfricaPrize for Engineering Innovation. 🇳🇬 🇿🇦 🇹🇿 🇺🇬
— RAEngGlobal (@RAEngGlobal) June 8, 2023
In a press statement from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the four finalists were selected from a shortlist of 15 African innovators for their proven ability to harness engineering to address common problems faced by Africans across Africa. The innovations tackle challenges central to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The engineers were chosen after receiving support over eight months to help them accelerate their businesses. This included comprehensive and tailored entrepreneurship training, sector-specific engineering mentoring, communications support, pitching opportunities, and access to the Academy’s network of high-profile, experienced engineers and business experts in the UK and across Africa.
Kirigwajjo developed YUNGA, a local digital security network that connects neighbors to each other and police within a 20km radius via a physical device, smartphone app, or SMS service, to provide security at a low cost. “We hope that with our household networks, communities will become harder targets for criminals,” says Kirigwajjo.
How YUNGA works, in cases of an emergency, you press a button that sets off an alarm on all devices connected to the network, and sends a message with the victim’s details to other devices (connected on the network i.e. neighbors and police), prompting a community response.
The final of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation will be hosted at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra, Ghana on July 6, 2023, where the four finalists will pitch their innovations to a panel of five judges and a live and online audience. The winner will be awarded £25,000 (approx. UGX116.8 million), with the remaining three finalists each receiving £10,000 (approx. UGX46.7 million).
The remaining 11 candidates from the 2023 Africa Prize shortlist are eligible for the One-to-Watch Award and the winner will receive £5,000 (approx. UGX23.3 million). The winner will be determined by the public’s vote at the Africa Prize final.
- Chukwuemeka Eze, a Nigerian electrical engineer has developed a modular e-mobility service used to convert gas-powered three-wheeled motorbikes to run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
- Edmund Wessels a biomedical engineer from South Africa has developed a battery-powered portable handheld device that enables gynaecologists to diagnose and treat a woman’s uterus without anaesthetic or expensive equipment, increasing women’s access to reproductive healthcare, particularly in remote areas.
- Gibson Kawago, a Tanzanian electrical engineer has developed a rechargeable power source created from recycled laptop lithium-ion batteries, providing a reliable and affordable electricity source.
Kirigwajjo has told PC Tech Magazine “Since my inclusion as shortlists, there has been a wealth of learning as we aligned with our company’s growth trajectory.” “We have witnessed an upsurge in mentorship, investment, sales, and the consequential positive impact on safer communities, all starting from November last year from Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation”
To date, the Royal Academy of Engineering has supported more than 130 entrepreneurs across 20 African countries through the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation with a rigorous business training program and lifelong support through the Africa Prize alumni network.
The Africa Prize runs annually and is designed to bring together individual innovators changing their communities, to form a network that can transform Africa. The 2024 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is now open for entries. Individuals and small teams living and working in sub-Saharan Africa with a scalable engineering innovation to solve a local challenge are invited to enter.
The deadline for entries is July 25, 2023. HOW TO APPLY