Two Kenyans have been nominated for the prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA).
The awards that are an initiative of Africa Innovation Foundation (AIF), seek to recognize outstanding innovation talent across Africa.
Kenyans, Alex Mwaura Muriu and Kyai Mullei are among 10 finalists who have been shortlisted for the award and stand to win a shared prize of Sh14 million ($150,000).
In a statement released by the AIF, the finalists impressed the judging panel with their home-grown, market-led innovations that contribute to Africa’s growth, development and prosperity.
Muriu of Farm Capital was selected for his risk sharing agribusiness funding model which links small farmers to investors who get a share of the farming profits.
This solution is a win for farmers and agri-preneurs who cannot access traditional financing while providing an alternative investment option for those with extra capital.
Mullei, the other Kenyan on the final list was lauded for his mobile application, M-changa, also known as E-harambee. The platform is used by individuals and organisations to fundraise and manage funds raised through text without the need for internet connectivity.
Also nominated for the awards are two East Africans: Jean Bosco Kazirukanyo from Burundi for his innovation that effectively contains and recycles ecologically harmful oil spills and Samuel O. Otukol from Uganda for his water distillation system and process that proposes an alternative source of viable drinkable water in areas of water shortage or where only sea water is available.
In a statement, the Chairman of the IPA 2015 selection panel, McLean Sibanda, said that this year’s entries were of remarkably good quality.
“The calibre of entries this year was particularly impressive seen in the quality and depth of applications,” he said.
He explained that the final list was compiled by a panel of highly qualified IPA judges who examined all entries through a rigorous process which included validation by technical experts.
“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”.
Other entries include an environmentally-friendly minicab, an alternative livestock antibiotic and a fire alert detector.
This year, AIF received 925 applications from 41 countries an improvement from 903 received last year.
The awards ceremony will be held in, Skhirat, Morocco where three winners will be chosen and announced in a gala event on 13 May 2015.
The prize money will be shared between the winners, with the most outstanding innovation receiving Sh9.3 million (US$100 000), and two prizes of Sh2.3 million (US$25 000) will be awarded to innovations with the highest social impact and best business potential respectively.