Egyptian wins $100k Innovation Prize for Africa

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Egyptian Dr Aly El-Shafei has walked away with US$100,000 after winning the annual Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) for his patented innovation, SEMAJIB, a smart bearing that significantly improves turbine performance in single line combined cycle plants as well as conventional generator technology.

The sixth edition of the IPA, organised by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) saw three winners take home a total of US$150,000 in prize money after 10 nominees were selected for the final from over 2,500 applications.

The winning solution designed by Dr El-Shafei 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.

In second place, and taking home US$25,000, was the Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion Set (ECFG) designed by Philippa Ngaju Makobore of Uganda, which accurately administers intravenous (IV) fluids and drugs by controlling the rate of fluid flow based on feedback from a drop sensor.

The Special Prize for Social Impact of US$25 000 went to Dougbeh-Chris Nyan from Liberia, who developed a rapid test that can detect and simultaneously differentiate at least three to seven infections at the same time.

Each one of the seven remaining nominees went home with a US$ 5,000 voucher to be used to further develop their innovations, while all nominees and winners will benefit from IPA post-prize activities aimed at moving their innovations to the next level.

“This edition of IPA has been all about galvanising support for African innovators in order to mobilise increased investments to help them commercialise and scale their innovations at a greater rate. AIF has rewarded IPA 2017 for developing solutions that can truly add value to the lives of Africans, and I believe that these innovations have incredible commercial potential and will succeed in attracting the right investments to go to the next stage,” said AIF founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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