Next Einstein Forum announces African Ci2i finalists

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The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) has announced the 16 African finalists for the second edition of its Challenge of Invention to Innovation (Ci2i) innovation competition, which will take place at the NEF Global Gathering in Kigali, Rwanda from today (March 26).

Launched in 2013, the NEF is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world with the goal to leverage science for human development.

The finalists will compete to win the top prize in three categories: Data Science and Deep Tech Innovations, Personalised Health Innovations and Climate Smart Innovations. They will all pitch their innovations to judges, with the final two in each category presenting in plenary on March 28. The winner will be announced live at the closing ceremony. Each category winner will receive US$25,000 in prize money.

The finalists in the Climate Smart Innovations category are Kenyan Donatus Njoroge, whose innovation “Molepse Bio resource oil/powder” is a repellent and toxic to all major post-harvest pests; Kenyan Dickson Ayuka, the co-founder of farm data service provider UjuziKilimo Solutions; Ghanaian Isaac Brenya, whose solution Ecovon revolutionizes how building materials are made; Malawian Rachel Sibande, who uses maize cobs as a biofuel to run a gasifier-based electrical system; Ghanaian Isaac Sesi, whose company Sesi Technologies manufactures hardware and software technology for farmers; and Moroccan Dr Lahbib Latrach, whose innovation is a new low cost and efficient wastewater treatment method.

The Deep Tech Solutions finalists are Guinean Abdoulaye Diallo, whose MIMsOmic is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform leveraging artificial intelligence, natural language and bioinformatic domain-specific workflows to help the performance of self-serve genomic research and biovigilance; Rwandan Davy Uwizera, who is working on S-Transport, an artificial intelligence solution for public transport in African cities; South African Oday Samad, who has designed a technologically-advanced life jacket; Nigerian Tobi Dwoeye, who is carrying out research using patient generated data to assess the effects of pain medication; and Kenyan Magondu Wairimu, who is project manager at eLimu, which has created literacy app Hadithi.

Finalists in the Personalised Health category are Cameroonian Conrad Tankou, who founded social venture GIC Space; Rwandan Joel Gasana, who has developed Companionapp, which connects HIV+ patients and their doctors; Nigerian Emmanuel Owoebu, who is co-founder of e-health startup Mobicure; Zimbabwean Muranyandzi Rushambwa, who is designing a system through which doctors can get real-time physiological information about patients from anywhere in the world; and Zimbabwean Daniel Nyabdza, whose company Digitech has developed an electronic handheld smart cane for the visually impaired.

“At the NEF we believe that inventions, especially science-driven ones that can be scaled up, are critical to Africa’s transformation. The NEF Ci2i challenge rewards research based innovations and products that have a direct impact on our communities,” said Thierry Zomahoun, founder and chair of Next Einstein Forum.

“The selected finalists’ innovations address climate change, various health challenges and push the envelope by proposing new data science or advanced technologies. We look forward to seeing all their ideas come to life.”

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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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