In a celebration of engineering innovation in Africa, two Nigerians – Adaeze Akpagbula and Tunde Adeyemi – are among 16 African engineering innovators shortlisted for the $60,000 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
The prize will be shared among four finalists to emerge from the longlist.
A statement issued on Wednesday and signed by the Programme Manager of Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation at the Royal Academy of Engineering, Alice Radley, noted that by being shortlisted for the Africa Prize, innovators benefit from support including business incubation, mentoring, fundraising and communication with access to the Academy’s global network of high-profile engineering and business experts in the UK, Africa and beyond.
Mr Adeyemi’s innovation is named: ‘The Kitchen Box’, described as an affordable biogas digester technology which turns any type of organic waste into animal feed and organic fertiliser and generates clean energy for heating and cooking.
On her part, Ms Akpagbula’s innovation is named: “PenKeep,” a climate-smart remote sensing device that monitors and controls environmental conditions in poultry farms, ensuring optimal health and productivity of chickens.
According to the statement, the shortlisting of the engineers is part of the broader selection of 16 innovators from eight African countries, showcasing groundbreaking solutions ranging from eco-friendly roofing materials to solar-powered agricultural pest detection devices.
The final round of the award, which is scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, in June 2024, during the Africa Prize’s 10th anniversary, will see four finalists present their innovations and business plans.
The winner will receive a total prize of N26 million with three runners-up awarded an average of N10 million each.
The audience, which includes some 80 Africa Prize alumni from the last decade, will also have the opportunity to vote for the most impactful pitch, with the “One-to-Watch award carrying a N5 million prize.”
Sewu-Steve Tawia, one of the judges, said the 16 innovators shortlisted for this year’s award are contributing to key Sustainable Development Goals including no poverty, health and well-being, quality education, affordable and clean energy, reduced inequalities, and climate action.
He 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 10th year, the Africa Prize is proud to elevate these local changemakers to global engineering innovators.”
The other 14 shortlisted candidates include six from Kenya – Charles Oduk, Esther Kimani, Kevin Maina, Christopher Maara, Esther Mueni, Purity Gakuo – and the trio of Ivan Karugaba, Martin Tumusiime and Paul Soddo, from Uganda.
Others are Rory Assandey from Côte d’Ivoire, Evodius Rutta from Tanzania, Abubakari Imoro from Ghana, Léandre Berwa from Rwanda, and Ludo Ntshiwa from Botswana.
About the award
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation was founded by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014. It is one of Africa’s biggest prizes dedicated to supporting African innovators and helping them to maximise their impact. It gives commercialisation support to ambitious African innovators developing scalable engineering solutions to address local challenges, demonstrating the importance of engineering as an enabler of improved quality of life and economic development.
The innovators aim to address pan-African and international challenges, including adapting food and water systems for climate resilience, developing low-carbon energy and transport solutions, and improving telecommunications, education, financial services and healthcare.