Zimbabwean engineer shortlisted for top award

24 Nov, 2022 - 14:11 0 Views

The Sunday News

Judith Phiri, Business Reporter 

ZIMBABWEAN engineer, Allen Chafa has been nominated for the 2023 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation (APEI).

Among 15 African innovators shortlisted, Eng Chafa is credited with creating Smart Water Tech, a real-time water quality monitoring and control system designed to address poor water quality which results in the spread of waterborne diseases.

In a statement, United Kingdom (UK)’s Royal Academy of Engineering said the 15 innovations shortlisted tackle challenges central to the United Nations (UN)’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including quality education, clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities, good health and wellbeing, and clean energy.

“This year 10 African countries are represented, Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

“Now in its 9th year, the APEI is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to developing African innovators and helping them to maximise their impact. The winner will receive £25,000, and three runners up will win £10,000 each. An additional One-to-Watch award of £5,000 will be given to the most promising innovator,” read part of the statement.

The Royal Academy of Engineering said this year’s innovations include a treatment to convert acid mine drainage into drinking water, a portable aquaponics unit that uses fish waste to boost production of vegetables, a robotics learning tool for children, a remote healthcare monitoring system, and an ecofriendly cooking stove that absorbs black carbon.

Launched in 2014, the Africa Prize is awarded annually by the Royal Academy of Engineering to ambitious African innovators creating local and scalable solutions to pan-African and international challenges.

“Innovators shortlisted for the Africa Prize will benefit from a unique package of support including business incubation, mentoring, fundraising and communications. The package also includes access to the Academy’s global network of high-profile and highly experienced engineers and business experts in the UK and Africa.”

The Royal Academy of Engineering said in mid-2023 four finalists will be chosen to pitch their innovations and business plans to Africa Prize judges at an event in Accra, Ghana.

It also noted that this year’s shortlisted innovators join the Academy’s 134-strong Africa Prize alumni network, which includes innovators who have achieved significant commercial success and social impact across the continent following their participation in the Prize, such as 2022 winner Norah Magero, and her portable solar-powered fridge solution for transporting medicines.

“Africa Prize alumni are projected to have an impact on more than three million people in the next five years, and have already created 3,585 jobs – including 1,766 for women and 211 for persons with disabilities – and raised more the US$ 14 million in grants and equity funding, directly contributing to 12 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” read part of the statement.

“The 2023 shortlist features several water innovations, including a real-time water quality monitoring and control system, an acid mine drainage solution to recycle contaminated water for human consumption, and a water management system to prevent excess borehole pumping and drying out of aquifers.”

AppsTech founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Ms Rebecca Enonchong FREng who is also Africa Prize judge, said: “Climate change is impacting Africa more severely than other continents, with agricultural production, food security and water resources being compromised, compounded by a weak adaptive capacity. This year, 11 of our innovations are contributing directly to environmental sustainability.”


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