The Royal Academy of Engineering has opened applications for the 2024 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation as the programme approaches its 10th anniversary. The Africa Prize supports ambitious entrepreneurs and innovators developing local and scalable solutions to everyday challenges on the continent.
Applications will be launched today at the 10th Sankalp Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya – an event that showcases the entrepreneurial ecosystem working towards sustainable development in Africa.
Since 2014, the programme has supported more than 130 entrepreneurs across 20 African countries with a rigorous business training programme and lifelong support through the Africa Prize alumni network. More than 70% of the alumni’s engineering and technology businesses now generate revenue. Between them the Africa Prize alumni have raised more than USD 14 million in grants and equity funding, and created more than 3,600 jobs, almost half of them for women.
Charlette N’Guessan, born in Côte d’Ivoire and working in Ghana, was the first woman to win the Prize in 2020, created BACE API, which uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence to verify identities remotely. The software can be integrated into existing applications and is aimed at financial institutions and other industries reliant on identify verification for service delivery. N’Guessan’s innovation is an example of an engineering solution that provides a tangible benefit to society.
“I am proud to be the first African woman to win the Prize, it is one of my greatest achievements as a female tech entrepreneur.” Said N’Guessan. “It opened our business up to many opportunities and provided exposure for our solution to the local and international market. I am happy to see the Africa Prize has inspired many young woman innovators to break down barriers, and I encourage all African innovators – especially woman engineers – to apply. This experience taught me to be open to collaboration and to embrace growth. We thank the Royal Academy of Engineering for trusting and investing in innovative solutions developed by Africans, for Africa.”
With applications from 37 African nations to date, and shortlisted candidates from 20 nations, the Africa Prize continues to nurture the wealth of diverse engineering talent across sub-Saharan Africa.