The Innovation Prize Award for Africa (IPA), aimed at discovering market-oriented applications to solve some Africa’s many problems, will in next year’s challenge award the winners total prize money of US$150,000.
During the African Internet Governance Forum pre-conference held in Cairo Egypt on October 2, Nega Eskedar, Programme Officer at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, presented a progress report on the Innovation Prize Award for Africa.
During her update presentation, Eskedar said that researchers are invited to propose projects that unlock new African potential under one or more areas, which include ICT.
She also spoke of the desired outcome of the award programme, including increased commercialisation of research and development (R&D) outputs in Africa, increased funding of start-ups, adoption of new and emerging technologies and accelerated growth of the private sector.
During the launch of the 2013 competition in early July this year, Aida Opoku-Mensah, Director of the ICT, Science and Technology Division (ISTD) of the Economic Commission for Africa, said: “Our focus is the future we innovate. It’s based on the core belief that the best way to predict the future is to create it. It is a call to action across Africa.”
The winner of this year’s IPA prize, Professor Mohamed Sanad, was present at the pre-conference and shared his project which was creating low cost, deployable, multi-band base station antenna.
At the end of the pre-conference, policy makers made the following resolutions in regards to the IPA Prize:
*Policymakers need to promote an innovation ecosystem aiming at strengthening the capacity of innovators and entrepreneurs, putting in place public and private institutions which would drive innovation and increasing the availability of resources to better nurture the capacity of potential innovators in Africa;
*The need to publicise the importance of activities such as the IPA through networking and outreach;
*Internet governance related issues are also critical in shaping ICT based innovation in Africa and therefore require that policymakers design policies and regulatory frameworks that aim at promoting creativity in the ICT sector;
*There is a need to raise awareness on the importance of intellectual property rights to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.
The winning proposal will receive a prize of US$100,000 with the two runners up bagging US$25,000 each. The deadline for application is on October 18.