The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, established in 2014 by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering, continues to recognize and celebrate engineering ingenuity in Africa.
This year, among the 16 remarkable African engineering innovators shortlisted for the prestigious $60,000 prize, two outstanding individuals from Nigeria stand out: Adaeze Akpagbula and Tunde Adeyemi.
The Shortlisted Engineering Innovators
Adaeze Akpagbula has developed an innovation called “PenKeep,” which revolutionizes poultry farming by introducing a climate-smart remote sensing device. This ingenious tool ensures optimal health and productivity for chickens while effectively monitoring and controlling environmental conditions on poultry farms.
Tunde Adeyemi’s invention, known as “The Kitchen Box,” is equally impressive. It is an affordable biogas digester technology that efficiently transforms any form of organic waste into animal feed and organic fertilizer. Not only does it contribute to waste management, but it also generates clean energy for heating and cooking purposes.
Support and Recognition
Being shortlisted for the Africa Prize is an exceptional opportunity for these innovators. In addition to the possibility of winning part of the $60,000 prize shared among the four finalists, they will benefit from valuable support. The Royal Academy of Engineering provides a comprehensive incubation program, mentorship, assistance with fundraising, and access to a global network of esteemed engineering and business experts from the UK, Africa, and beyond.
Showcasing Groundbreaking Solutions
These exceptional Nigerian engineers are part of a broader selection of 16 innovators hailing from eight African countries. Their groundbreaking solutions span a wide range of fields, from eco-friendly roofing materials to solar-powered agricultural pest detection devices. Each innovation directly contributes to the achievement of key Sustainable Development Goals, including poverty alleviation, improved health and well-being, quality education, affordable and clean energy, reduced inequalities, and climate action.
The Final Round
In June 2024, during the much-anticipated 10th anniversary of the Africa Prize, the final round of the award will take place in Nairobi, Kenya. The four finalists will present their innovations and business plans, hoping to secure the winning position. The victorious innovator will receive a generous prize of N26 million, while the three runners-up will be awarded an average of N10 million each. Additionally, in an exciting twist, the audience, consisting of esteemed Africa Prize alumni, will have the opportunity to vote for the most impactful pitch, with the “One-to-Watch Award” carrying a N5 million prize.
The Voice of the Judges
Sewu-Steve Tawia, one of the judges for this year’s Africa Prize, highlights how the shortlisted innovators are actively contributing to multiple Sustainable Development Goals and making a significant impact in their communities. Their innovations not only address local challenges but also create employment opportunities and the potential for scaling their solutions beyond their home countries. As the prize enters its 10th year, it proudly recognizes these exceptional individuals as global engineering innovators, elevating them from local changemakers to international figures.
The Diverse Shortlist
Joining Akpagbula and Adeyemi on the shortlist are 14 other accomplished African innovators. Kenya is well-represented, with six exceptional individuals: Charles Oduk, Esther Kimani, Kevin Maina, Christopher Maara, Esther Mueni, and Purity Gakuo. Uganda adds to the mix with Ivan Karugaba, Martin Tumusiime, and Paul Soddo. The roster continues with Rory Assandey from Côte d’Ivoire, Evodius Rutta from Tanzania, Abubakari Imoro from Ghana, Léandre Berwa from Rwanda, and Ludo Ntshiwa from Botswana.
The Importance of the Africa Prize
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, established in 2014 by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering, remains one of the most significant accolades in Africa dedicated to supporting and promoting African innovators. By offering commercialization support and recognizing the importance of engineering in improving quality of life and economic growth, the prize empowers ambitious Africans working towards scalable engineering solutions. These solutions address critical pan-African and global challenges, such as climate resilience in food and water systems, low-carbon energy and transportation, and advancements in telecommunications, education, financial services, and healthcare.
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation’s long-standing commitment to celebrating African ingenuity continues to shine a light on extraordinary individuals like Adaeze Akpagbula and Tunde Adeyemi. Their innovations, alongside those of their fellow shortlisted engineers, are proof of the transformative power of engineering in Africa and beyond. As the prize enters its 10th anniversary year, it reinforces the importance of nurturing and amplifying emerging talent, ensuring a brighter future for the entire continent.