16 Entrepreneurs Shortlisted For The 2018 Africa Prize For Engineering Innovation

Written by Peter Pedroncelli
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Loanbee is the brainchild of Monicah Wambugu, a computer scientist from Kenya. Photo - Twitter
Loanbee is the brainchild of Monicah Wambugu, a computer scientist from Kenya. Photo – Twitter

Sixteen entrepreneurs have been identified for their innovative and inventive capacity, and are shortlisted for the 2018 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.

They’re being recognized as African tech pioneers by the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering. Now in its fourth year, the Africa Prize equips talented engineers with tools and expert advice to take their innovations further and develop them into businesses.

Only two of the 16 nominees are women, partly because men dominate many of the disciplines from which these innovations emerge in African countries.

The Africa Prize is supported by The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund and the U.K. Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund.

Here are the 16 entrepreneurs shortlisted for the 2018 Africa Prize For Engineering Innovation.

Sources: DesignIndaba, RoyalAcademyofEngineering, TheEngineer, Quartz.

Alvin Kabwama is the innovator behind UriSAF. Photo - NewVision
Alvin Kabwama is the innovator behind UriSAF. Photo – NewVision

Alvin Kabwama

Innovation: UriSAF

Alvin Kabwama is a 24-year-old electronics engineer from Uganda who has qualified for this nomination thanks to UriSAF, which uses pH and infrared sensors to test urine for infections quickly, accurately and affordably, assisting in making African healthcare more efficient, even in remote areas.

Arthur Woniala is the mechanical engineer behind Khainza Energy Gas. Photo - QEPFE
Arthur Woniala is the mechanical engineer behind Khainza Energy Gas. Photo – QEPFE

Arthur Woniala

Innovation: Khainza Energy Gas

Another of the entrepreneurs on this list from Uganda is Arthur Woniala, a mechanical engineer with Khainza Energy Gas, a cheap and efficient biogas made from manure and safe for household use

Matibabu is a low-cost reusable device that tests for malaria. Photo - AspirinInnovationAward
Matibabu is a low-cost reusable device that tests for malaria. Photo – AspirinInnovationAward

Brian Gitta

Innovation: Matibabu

Brian Gitta is a 24-year-old computer scientist from Uganda with an ingenious medical innovation called Matibabu, a low-cost reusable device that tests for malaria quickly and accurately without the need to draw blood. The non-invasive diagnostic kit connects to a mobile application.

The Sixth Sense, inspired by bats and dolphins, will help the visually impaired. Photo - IMeche
The Sixth Sense, inspired by bats and dolphins, will help the visually impaired. Photo – IMeche

Brian Mwenda

Innovation: The Sixth Sense

An 21-year-old entrepreneur from Kenya is responsible for a new innovative which will help the visually impaired. Brian Mwenda is an electronics engineer with The Sixth Sense, a handheld echolocation device with ultrasonic sensors that alert visually impaired users to objects nearby

Collins Saguru is one of the nominees from South Africa. Photo - PressReader
Collins Saguru is one of the nominees from South Africa. Photo – PressReader

Collins Saguru

Innovation: AltMet

South African Collins Saguru is a 27-year-old chemical engineer from South Africa with AltMet, an economical, environmentally sustainable process used to recover and re-use precious metals from cars. This innovation can have an excellent impact on the environment.

Taylor’s innovation could help farmers, providing them with information about the soil. Photo: Oxfam Blogs

Daniel Taylor

Innovation: HWESOMAME

Daniel Taylor, an electronics engineering student from Ghana with HWESOMAME, received a nomination for this award thanks to his work on a low-cost smart sensor that accurately detects soil conditions and notifies farmers via text or phone call.

Kitovu’s products are designed to assist farmers. Photo – FarmerWeekly

Emeka Nwachinemere

Innovation: Kitovu

Emeka Nwachinemere is a 31-year-old mechanical engineer from Nigeria with Kitovu, an online platform that helps farmers in remote locations to increase crop yields and sell their produce. The way in which this is achieved involves the provision of a number of interesting products designed with farmers in mind.

Esther Gacicio is the woman behind Kenya's eLearning Solutions. Photo - dhahabuKenya
Esther Gacicio is the woman behind Kenya’s eLearning Solutions. Photo – dhahabuKenya

Esther Gacicio

Innovation: eLearning Solutions

One of only two women within this shortlist, Esther Gacicio is an education specialist from Kenya with eLearning Solutions, an interactive online program that hosts courses for individuals or serves as a tool for training institutions.

Ifediora Ugochukwu is the electronics engineer behind iMeter. Photo - Brand Times
Ifediora Ugochukwu is the electronics engineer behind iMeter. Photo – Brand Times

Ifediora Ugochukwu

Innovation: iMeter

Ifediora Ugochukwu is an electronics engineer from Nigeria with iMeter, which gives electricity consumers and power utilities control over their electricity use. The 33-year-old won 2016 ITU Telecom World Recognition for Excellence Award.

Lawrence Okettayot is the engineer that has been pushing the Sparky Dryer project. Photo - YouTube
Lawrence Okettayot is the engineer that has been pushing the Sparky Dryer project. Photo – YouTube

Lawrence Okettayot

Innovation: Sparky Dryer

Another shortlisted candidate from Uganda, 22-year-old Lawrence Okettayot is a mechanical engineer and the innovator behind Sparky Dryer, a low-tech dehydrator that dries fruit and vegetables to extend their shelf life and reduce food wastage.

Science Set allows students to conduct numerous scientific experiments at school. Photo - News Ghana
Science Set allows students to conduct numerous scientific experiments at school. Photo – News Ghana

Michael Asante-Afrifa

Innovation: Science Set

Passionate about education and science in particular, Ghanaian Michael Asante-Afrifa invented Science Set, a mini science lab with all the materials needed to do the science experiments in a school syllabus. The mechanical engineer is therefore being recognized for his innovation.

Loanbee is the brainchild of Monicah Wambugu, a computer scientist from Kenya. Photo - Twitter
Loanbee is the brainchild of Monicah Wambugu, a computer scientist from Kenya. Photo – Twitter

Monicah Wambugu

Innovation: Loanbee

Only the second woman on this list, 28-year-old Monicah Wambugu is a computer scientist from Kenya. She is the bright mind behind Loanbee, a mobile phone application that calculates the user’s credit scores and grants micro-loans

Nges Njungle is the Cameroonian computer engineering student who built Muzikol. Photo - YouTube
Nges Njungle is the Cameroonian computer engineering student who built Muzikol. Photo – YouTube

Nges Njungle

Innovation: Muzikol

Nges Njungle is a 21-year-old computer engineering student from Cameroon with Muzikol, an online music marketing and social media app designed to meet all the career needs of musicians in the country and beyond.

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu came up with the concept for ColdHubs. Photo - YouTube
Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu came up with the concept for ColdHubs. Photo – YouTube

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu

Innovation: ColdHubs

Yet another Nigerian on this list is 35-year-old social entrepreneur, Nnaemeka Ikegwuono. The Nigerian is also a farmer, and he has come up with ColdHubs, solar-powered walk-in cold rooms that extend the life of perishable food tenfold.

Rwanda is becoming the test kitchen of Africa
Peter Kariuki and Barret Nash, co-founders of SafeMotos, Rwanda. Photo: cult.is

Peter Kariuki

Innovation: SafeMotos

Rwandan Peter Kariuki is the software engineer that co-founded SafeMotos, a smartphone app that allows customers to order motorcycle taxis to their desired pickup location. The company recently revealed that it has crowdsourced funding to help it find and train female moto-taxi drivers.

Shalton Mothwa invented the AEON Power Bag that converts telecoms signals into charge. Photo -Nunnovation
Shalton Mothwa invented the AEON Power Bag that converts telecoms signals into charge. Photo -Nunnovation

Shalton Mothwa

Innovation: AEON Power Bag

Shalton Mothwa came up with an innovation that is incredibly useful. The 30-year-old nuclear physicist from South Africa invented the AEON Power Bag, which allows users to charge their phones on the go by converting radio waves and solar energy into power. The laptop bag harnesses ambient telecoms signals and converts them into electrical energy.

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