Calling entries for Innovation Prize for Africa

Nearly R1,5 million up for grabs

innovation prize for africa

Africa has seen some of the fastest economic growth rates in recent history – with an average 6% economic increase and a combined GDP will hit $2.6-trillion by 2020. But can innovation in South Africa and across the continent sustain this growth?

In an effort to drive African-led development through innovation The African Innovation Foundation is announcing the call for entries for the 2014 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). The prestigious Prize, presented annually since 2012, is focused on identifying African solutions to African challenges.

Recent winners AgriProtein from South Africa developed an innovative approach to nutrient recycling – a method that uses waste and fly larvae to produce natural animal feed. Innovations like these demonstrate the potential of African innovation to provide tangible economic value not only in their local markets but around the world. 

Prizes will be awarded to entrepreneurs and innovators who deliver market-oriented solutions for African development, as the project aims at encouraging innovations that contribute to sustainable development in Africa. The winning submission will be awarded a prize of $100 000 (approximately R983 000), with two additional $25 000 (R246 000) prizes - one for the runner up with an innovation with the best business potential and the other for the runner up with the innovation with the best social impact.

In an effort to drive African-led development, the IPA invites African entrepreneurs and innovators to propose projects that unlock new African potential under one of five categories which include agriculture and agribusiness; environment, energy and water; health and wellbeing; ICT applications; and manufacturing and services industries.

“The IPA team believes that the best way to build Africa’s capacity is to invest in local innovation and entrepreneurship.  This prize encourages Africans to develop creative ways to overcome everyday challenges,” said AIF founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais.

Besides for the AgriProtein award, the 2013 prize also recognized two additional winners for their contributions to African innovation. In the business potential category, Hassine Labaied and Anis Aouini from Saphon Energy (Tunisia) received USD 25 000 for creating a bladeless wind convertor. In the social impact category, Sanoussi Diakite (Senegal) received USD 25 000 for developing and distributing a thermal powered machine that husks 5 kilograms of fonio – an important and healthy West African cereal – in just 8 minutes. This innovation increases accessibility to a nutritious African staple food source and addresses challenges associated with its consumption.  

With more than 1350 applications received to date, the IPA aims to support Africans’ efforts to develop new products, increase efficiency and drive cost-savings on the continent. The IPA also provides a platform for African innovators to showcase their solutions to potential investors and seek partners to scale up their marketable concepts. Only innovations by Africans and for Africans are eligible to enter. Africans in the Diaspora can also apply if their innovations are of significance to Africa.

The registration deadline for the 2014 prize has been set for 31 October 2013. For detailed information of competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission procedures, go to



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