The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) in conjunction with Botswana Innovation Hub and the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology will next month host the annual Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA).
The competition, which is in its fifth year running, has previously been held in Skhirat (2015), Abuja (2014), Cape Town (2013) and Addis Ababa (2012).
The award, one of the highest accolades one may receive in the field of innovation, seeks to facilitate numerous objectives pertinent to Africa’s development.
The objectives include but are not limited to; mobilizing African innovators and entrepreneurs who have novel creations to showcase, strengthening African innovation eco-systems to create an innovative conducive environment across the continent and encouraging youthful Africans to pursue science, technology and engineering careers
Ten finalists have been short listed for the prize with the majority of them originating from South Africa (4).
Other countries represented in the shortlist include Benin, Egypt and Kenya who have one representative each respectively.
Nigeria concludes the shortlist with three candidates.
The finalists were selected from a rigid criterion that places the most importance on originality of concept, marketability, scalability, social impact and scientific/technical aspects.
When probed on the non-existence of Batswana on the shortlist, Public Relations Manager of Botswana Innovation Hub – Tigele Mokobi was quick to refute that the omission was due to a lack of competent innovators in the country.
“It is rather due to the fact that the awards were not well known in Botswana until now. Many participants enter local competition, perhaps they lack belief that they can compete internationally.”
He further added that the situation can be reversed if the right steps are taken.
“The road shows that we have embarked on have informed a lot of innovators of the existence of these awards. We are actively encouraging people to attend local, regional and international innovation competitions. To facilitate this we are constantly looking for sponsors in order to increase funding and resources for upcoming innovators. ”