Dr Valentin Agon of Benin Republic has been declared winner of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), a challenge which seeks to strengthen African innovation ecosystems and spur the growth of market-driven African solutions to African challenges.
Dr Valentin, alongside 9 entrepreneurs, was selected as a finalist of the event from 985 successful submissions from 46 African countries.
They all made the cut following a rigorous process that included pre-screening, screening, preliminary assessment by judges, selection meeting panel et al.
At the finals, which took place on June 23, 2016 at the Gaborone International Conference Centre (GICC), all the finalists pitched to an expert panel of IPA judges who were impressed with Dr Valentin’s innovation and named him overall winner.
His innovation is Api-Palu, an anti-malaria drug treatment that has hit the market not only in Benin, but in Burkina Faso, Tchad, and Central African Republic (CAR).
Made from natural plant extract, Api-Palu is significantly cheaper than anti-malarial drugs currently on the market; it has great inhibitory effects on 3D7 strains of plasmodium falciparum the causative agent of malaria.
For emerging overall winner, Dr Valentin received the grand prize of US$100,000.
In second place was Imogen Wright of South Africa who developed Exatype, a software solution that enables healthcare workers to determine HIV positive patients’ responsiveness to ARV drug treatment. He took home US$25,000.
Nigeria’s Dr Eddy Agbo carted away the sum of US$25,000 for winning the Social Impact Prize. He developed Urine Test for Malaria (UMT), a rapid non-blood diagnostic medical device that can diagnose malaria in less than 25 minutes.
“All those involved in the advancement of the frontiers of innovation, science, and technology are winners, and on behalf of the Government of Botswana, we would like to congratulate all those who participated in IPA 2016. However, in this pool of achievers, there are those that stand head and shoulders above the rest and we applaud the winners of IPA 2016,” said Alan Boshwaen, CEO of BIH
He added, “We celebrate this fine achievement and trust that it will inspire innovators in Botswana and across the continent to do more to solve Africa’s challenges.”
The event was organized in partnership with the Government of Botswana (GoB) represented by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST) and the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH).
The Innovation Prize for Africa is an initiative of the African Innovation Foundation. It was started in 2011 and has been held in Addis Ababa (2012), Cape Town (2013), Abuja (2014) and Skhirat, Morroco (2015).