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In My View

May 24, 2015

IPA 2015 – A Rocking Success!

The 4th edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), which took place last week in Skhirat, Morocco under the eminent patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and in partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy, was an outstanding success through and through.

It is for this reason that I felt inspired to share some of the key highlights of the two-day event that brought together African innovators from all corners of the continent.

  • ICT – 262
  • Environment, Energy & Water – 192
  • Health & Wellbeing – 155
  • Agriculture – 141
  • Manufacturing & Services – 127
  • Others – 48

The IPA 2015 received a record 925 applications from 41 countries, with a marked increase in the quality of innovative solutions, products and services across key sectors. 10 finalists were shortlisted for the Innovation Prize, each of them bringing to the table high-value African solutions with positive socio-economic impact.

L-R: I join Mr. Mamoun Bouhdoud, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy, Mr. Lachen Daoudi, Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Executive Education, Mr.Mohamed Abbou, Minister Delegate to

L-R: I join Mr. Mamoun Bouhdoud, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy, Mr. Lachen Daoudi, Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Executive Education, Mr.Mohamed Abbou, Minister Delegate to

Doing his nation proud, this year’s winner was Moroccan biotechnologist, Adnane Remmal, who has developed a patented natural alternative to livestock antibiotics, which essentially reduces the health hazard to cattle and humans, and prevents the transmission of multi-resistant germs and possible carcinogens through meat, eggs and milk to humans at no extra cost to farmers.

Alex Mwaura Muriu of Kenya who won Second Prize, has developed a risk sharing agri-business funding model called Farm Capital Africa that enables small scale African “agripreneurs” — who lack collateral and credit history to access traditional financing and help them expand their business.

The Special Prize for Social Impact went to South African, Lesley Erica Scott for her innovation Smartspot TBcheck, which examines the accuracy and functionality of machines used to detect TB diagnosis. This innovation will make diagnosing TB far easier and might go a long way in curbing the TB epidemic, which is one of the leading causes of death in Africa.

Lerato Mbele and I discuss Africa’s innovation future

Lerato Mbele and I discuss Africa’s innovation future

Inventions of this sophistication have the capacity to transform Africa and put the continent on the innovation world map, and I was pleased with the opportunity to discuss this with the gracious,Lerato Mbele, BBC’s Africa Business Report presenter, and our host during the Gala Dinner.

What I found very special this year was the inclusion of African youth in the IPA event as they brought a fresh, energetic vibe. The Ideas Machine workshop saw a large number of young African students present their take on sustainable innovation priorities in Africa. My interactions with them reinforced my deep belief that Africa’s young minds have caught the ‘innovation virus’ I always speak of.

L-R: Robison Esialimba, Elodie deWarlincourt, Aulora Stally, Sandra Texeira, Clemente Oliveira Paulo, Pelthia Makgatho, Walter Fust, Pauline Mujawamariya, IPA 2015 winner Adnane Remmal, Laura Yuego, Soumaya Iraqui (Ministry of Trade, Industry, Investment

L-R: Robison Esialimba, Elodie deWarlincourt, Aulora Stally, Sandra Texeira, Clemente Oliveira Paulo, Pelthia Makgatho, Walter Fust, Pauline Mujawamariya, IPA 2015 winner Adnane Remmal, Laura Yuego, Soumaya Iraqui (Ministry of Trade, Industry, Investment

Overall, I was thoroughly delighted to observe how the IPA has grown from strength to strength. I am very proud of the African Innovation Foundation for yet another superb IPA edition. I also want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you and a job well done to everyone and all organizations who were involved, whether directly or indirectly, in making the IPA 2015 a stand out success.

Until next year!