Yesterday afternoon Peter West, British High Commissioner to Uganda met with three Ugandan innovators shortlisted for the 2020 ‘Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation’ award.
Launched in 2014 by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering, the annual Africa Prize awards crucial commercialisation support to innovators who are transforming local communities across Africa. The Prize has a track record of identifying engineering entrepreneurs with significant potential, who, with the support of the Prize, have gone on to achieve greater commercial success and social impact.
The Ugandan inventions, demonstrated to the High Commissioner at the event, include:
PapsAI by Dr William Wasswa, which is a series of software and hardware innovations that make cervical cancer screening, diagnosis and patient record management faster and more efficient;
Remot by David Tusubira which is both a hardware and software system that monitors and manages the performance, usage and health of solar photovoltaic (PV) panel installations and
The Eco Water Purifier by Timothy Kayondo, which is a water filter, made from animal bones, cassava peels, and other waste materials. Running off solar panels, the purifier is ideal for rural schools and clinics.
The entrepreneurs applied for the Africa Prize last year and underwent a three-stage review process in order to be shortlisted. They will now benefit from an eight-month package of support, which includes comprehensive and tailored business training, bespoke mentoring, funding and access to experienced engineers and business experts, to help them accelerate their businesses.
Following this period of support four finalists will be selected and invited to pitch their improved innovation and business plans to judges and a live audience in a showcase event in June in Accra, Ghana. The winner will receive £25,000, and three runners up receive £10,000.
In his remarks to guests, the High Commissioner said ‘A huge ‘well done’ to William Wasswa, David Tusubira and Timothy Kayondo for being shortlisted for the Royal Society of Engineering annual Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. The point of the prize is to identify and support outstanding engineering entrepreneurs whose ideas have potential for commercialisation and to transform local communities. You can be proud to be shortlisted and I wish you every success in emulating your countryman Brian Gitta, who won the prize in 2018.”
In 2018, the winner was Ugandan Brian Gitta for his invention Matibabu, which tests for malaria without drawing blood. The device is a low-cost and reusable tool that clips onto a patient’s finger, requiring no specialist expertise to operate. The results are available within one minute on a mobile phone that is linked to the device.