Organized by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF), the sixth edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) were awarded to three more African innovators for their incredible innovations.
AIF, in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, represented by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) and Ghana@60 Planning Committee; hosted the #IPA 2017, which was themed, ‘African Innovation: Investing in Prosperity.
Out of the total of over 2500 applications, 10 nominees were selected, and from these Aly El-Shafei of Egypt emerged as the grand prize winner; with Philippa Ngaju Makobore of Uganda landing the second prize; and Dougbeh-Chris Nyan of Liberia, winning the special prize for social impact.
Each one of the seven remaining nominees also went home with US$ 5 000 voucher to be used to further develop their innovations. to crown it all, the nominees and winners will benefit from IPA post prize activities aiming at moving their innovations to the next level.
The patented innovation, SEMAJIB, by Dr El-Shafei who walked away with the Grand Prize of US$ 100 000, is a smart bearing that significantly improves turbine performance in single line combined cycle plants as well as conventional generator technology. Patented in the US since 2010 with another patent pending, the device is designed to be used to support energy generating turbines more efficiently and cost effectively in Africa.
SEMAJIB is an innovation that does not currently exist in the West, and already Siemens’ has indicated interest in the device. A world class innovation originating from Africa, SEMAJIB reverse Africa’s image as a technology consumer to technology producer. Production of these bearings in Africa will also generate jobs and increased revenue for Africa.
The focus of the initiative was to galvanise support for African innovators in order to mobilise increased investments to help them commercialise and scale their innovations at a greater rate to tackle the obstacles facing various sectors and industries of the economy.