In 2011, the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) started an initiative called the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). Through the IPA, the AIF awards and encourages innovation and African ingenuity, with the hopes of accelerating economic growth on the continent. AIF focuses on advancements in business, economy, agriculture, and technology. The award’s mission is to:
- Mobilize leaders from all sectors to fuel African innovation
- Promote science, technology and engineering across Africa
- Promote innovation across Africa in key sectors through the competition
- Encourage entrepreneurs, innovators, funding bodies and business development service providers to exchange ideas and explore innovative business opportunities
The IPA competition awards $150,000 (USD) to those who can provide innovative and market-oriented solutions that are African led. The 2013 Innovation Prize for Africa Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner took place in Cape Town, South Africa. Three applications were chosen from over 900 teams representing 45 different countries for Best Overall Innovation, Best Business Potential and Best Social Innovation. The award for Best Overall Innovation and an award of $100,000 went to a Cape Town team of entrepreneurs and researchers from AgriProtein Technologies.
AgriProtein devised a new approach to nutrient recycling involving the use of waste and fly larvae to produce natural food for animals. The team has been developing nutrient recycling technology as a solution to the global need for new and sustainable sources of protein.
Nutrient Recycling is a system where farmers collect biodegradable waste and feed it to flies. The flies produce larvae that are used to make a type of animal feed that is more ecologically friendly and occurs naturally. Production of the feed will result in cheaper animal feeds for African farmers and processors.
Africa has experienced an average 6% economic growth due to innovative development around the continent. The application deadline for the 2014 Awards was November 30.
– Daren Gottlieb