16 engineers from eight African countries have been shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering's Africa Prize for Innovation.

The prize, now in its tenth year, awards support including business incubation, mentoring, fundraising and communication. This year's shortlisted startups include Kevin Maina from Kenya, who is making environmentally friendly roofing material from recycled plastic through his company Eco Tiles, and Botswana's Ludo Ntshiwa, whose company Biomass Briquettes uses biowaste to make a renewable substitute for charcoal. There's also a Ghanaian startup that has developed an eco-friendly sewage treatment that uses bacteria and fungi to turn sewage into yarn and leather substitutes.

Many of the products blend internet connectivity and engineering, like Beba-Beggie, an IoT locker offering convenient storage, and Knock Knock, a domestic alert system for the deaf that detects knocks on someone's door and transmits them to smartphones via Bluetooth. There's also the Microfuse Stick Computer, an Amazon Fire Stick-like device that turns any screen, projector or monitor into a Wi-Fi connected computer.

“The 16 innovators shortlisted for this year’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation are contributing to key Sustainable Development Goals including no poverty, health and wellbeing, quality education, affordable and clean energy, reduced inequalities, and climate action," says Africa Prize judge Sewu-Steve Tawia. "What sets these 16 people apart is their determination to solve local challenges, contribute to job creation and seizing the opportunity to scale their innovation across Africa. In its tenth year, the Africa Prize is proud to elevate these local changemakers to global engineering innovators.”

“Winning the prize opened our business up to many opportunities and provided exposure for our solution to the local and international market,” said 2020 Africa Prize winner Charlette N’Guessan from Cote D’Ivoire in 2023, the first woman to win the prize. “I am happy to see the Africa Prize has inspired many young woman innovators to break down barriers.”

Extracted from IMechE website - read more here

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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