The Royal Academy of Engineering has opened applications for the 2024 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation as the programme approaches its 10th anniversary
The Africa Prize, which supports ambitious entrepreneurs and innovators developing local and scalable solutions to everyday challenges on the continent, will welcome its tenth cohort in November 2023. Since 2014, the programme has supported more than 130 entrepreneurs across 20 African countries with a rigorous business training programme and lifelong support through the Africa Prize alumni network. More than 70% of the alumni’s engineering and technology businesses now generate revenue. Between them the Africa Prize alumni have raised more than US$14mn in grants and equity funding, and created more than 3,600 jobs, almost half of them for women.
The Africa Prize is now looking for the next 16 promising innovators who will bring new technologies to help address societal challenges including access to power, food and water security, adapting to climate change, and improving telecommunications, education, financial services, healthcare and other public infrastructure. So far the Prize has received applications from 37 African nations to date and shortlisted candidates from 20 nations.
The winner of the Africa Prize receives UK£25,000 (approx. US$30,000) and three runners-up are each awarded UK£10,000 (approx. US$12,000). Up to 16 shortlisted applicants receive a unique package of support over eight months to help them accelerate their businesses, including comprehensive and tailored business 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.
“The Africa Prize boosted my success as an African entrepreneur by helping me grow, providing training and international mentoring support to my water solution for Tanzania,” said inaugural winner Askwar Hilonga, who created the NanoFilter system. “The Prize changed my life, and the future of thousands of Tanzanians who now have access to safe drinking water.”
Previous winners have included Kenyan Norah Magero who created VacciBox, a solar-powered mobile fridge to store and transport temperature-sensitive medicines; Ugandan Brian Gitta, who created Matibabu, a reusable malaria detection device which clips onto the user’s finger; and Charlette N’Guessan, born in Côte d'Ivoire and working in Ghana, who created BACE API, which uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence to verify identities remotely.
African entrepreneurs from all engineering disciplines, and with an innovation that can provide scalable solutions to local challenges, are invited to enter the tenth round of the Africa Prize. Applications are now open to individuals or small teams living and working in sub-Saharan Africa. Submitted innovations should have a social, economic or environmental benefit, and should be at an early stage of development, with the potential for upscaling and commercialisation. The Prize is open to hardware and software innovations, as well as innovative processes and systems.
The deadline for applications is 25 July 2023 (4pm BST). Visit the ‘How to Apply’ guide on the Africa Prize website and submit applications through the online grants system.