African Innovation Foundation (AIF) call for 2018 Innovation Prize for Africa


Five years ago, AIF initiated the IPA to support African innovators by unlocking their potential and catalyzing the African innovation spirit, promoting home-grown solutions for Africa’s prosperity.
We seek to:

  • Strengthen African innovation ecosystems through our platforms and mobilize a network of innovation enablers, driving business development and cross-collaboration.
  • Demonstrate that African ingenuity exists at a Pan African level through honouring outstanding innovations and recognizing their positive impact in Africa and beyond

Today, IPA is a leading platform on the African innovation landscape; it has a network of 6000+ African innovators spanning 50 countries; 45 of the continent’s top innovators and 35+ innovation enablers.

Deadline for Applications: 10 January 2018, 23.59h GMT

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) is delighted to announce the call for its 2018
Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) applications. The IPA main purpose is to strengthen African innovation ecosystems through supporting a culture of innovation and competitiveness, whilst spurring growth of innovative, market-driven African solutions to African challenges.

It is important to note that:
The IPA is not just another award; the comparative advantage of IPA is that:
• IPA assesses both hi-tech and low-tech innovations, and these include tangible
products and intangible social processes on the same plane
• IPA process provides an opportunity for innovators from a wide spectrum of
educational and social backgrounds to compete at the same level
• We are looking for practical solutions addressing African challenges. The only
determining success factor in all instances is how the innovations are assessed
according to the key indicators set out in Section 3 of the Selection Criteria below.
• AIF ensures the strict protection of Intellectual Property (IP) rights and sensitive
details of your innovation will be kept confidential. Everyone involved in IPA selection
process is bound by an AIF/IPA Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), requiring them to
keep all information confidential.
• Beyond the lucrative cash Awards, AIF provides post-prize support to all nominees
and other selected innovators which helps move their innovation to the next levels
The IPA is focused on:
• Honouring and encouraging innovative achievements that contribute toward
developing new products, increasing efficiency or saving cost in Africa.
• Providing unique platforms for entrepreneurs, innovators, funding bodies and
business development service providers to network, exchange ideas and explore
innovative business opportunities.
• Promoting innovation across Africa in key sectors through the competition
• Mobilizing leaders from all sectors to fuel African innovation and strengthen the
African innovation ecosystems
• Promoting science, technology and engineering as a rewarding career path among
African youth and women.


The IPA anticipates contributing to the following outcomes:
• Increased acceleration and scaling of home grown innovations across Africa and
• Increased funding of local innovations and investment in start-ups which leads to job
creation and inclusive growth
• Increased number of women and young African focusing on creating innovative
solutions to African challenges
• Strong and inclusive African innovation ecosystems.
The IPA 2018 recognizes innovative breakthroughs that unlock new African potential in the
following five priority areas: agriculture and agribusiness; environment, energy and water;
health and well-being; ICTs; manufacturing and service industry. Details are provided
Innovations that fit into a thematic area not identified above are also welcome. However,
the IPA Secretariat must be notified about this submission, with full details.
• Agriculture/agribusiness
Innovations that have demonstrated a lead in the agricultural sector, particularly value
added at specific points of the agricultural value-chain. It is about providing new ways to
ensure a food-secure future for the African continent and the world. The innovation could be
about commercial and market-oriented farming as well as small-scale and subsistence
• Environment, Energy and Water
Innovations that have demonstrated a lead in developing or applying cost-effective, smart
renewable energy generation processes, cleaner water and sanitation supply systems etc. It
is about the way we adapt to climate challenges and steward our natural resources to
impact the inheritance we leave to the future generations of Africans.
• Health and Well-being
Innovations that have demonstrated high impact or potential in improving the physical,
mental, and social well-being of individuals or communities through prevention, diagnosis
and treatment. It is about finding new, cheaper, accessible and faster ways to detect and
treat to ensure longer, happier and healthier lives. This might include the development and
use of traditional and modern medicines, improved sanitation, hygiene and treating or
preventing the major diseases faced by the continent.
• Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs)
Innovative ICTs applications that have demonstrated their potential in addressing key
development challenges in African societies (e.g. in communities) or economy, including:
software, mobile/wireless technologies and local language software. Whereas ICT remains a cross-cutting issue and a tool applicable in many sectors, the focus here is on solutions where the primary and greatest investment in development, use and deployment of the solution is with focus to ICTs.
• Manufacturing and Service Industry
Innovations that have demonstrated a lead on addressing the key pillars of innovation in
production and service /industry: creating high added-value, greener, more customer
focused and/or high-quality products and services; manufacturing more with less input
materials, using the lowest energy and creating less or zero waste; introducing effective and
efficient process in a production value chain. It is also about new business processes that
generate value within a given industry.

    Are you an African entrepreneur, academic or inventor with an innovation that could
    potentially provide an African solution to some of the continent’s every day challenges? If
    your answer is “yes”, then you should apply for the IPA. This Prize is intended to benefit
    Africans who have devised outstanding innovative solutions to real African challenges.
    Below are specific guidelines on who can apply and how to apply:
    • Eligible innovations MUST be by Africans for Africa. Africans in the Diaspora can
    also apply if their innovations are of significance for Africa. Our working definition of
    Africans is persons who:
    a) Hold the passport of an African country, OR
    b) if they hold the passport of a non-African country, they are able to demonstrate
    that they are either recently naturalized in their new country or at most they are
    a first-generation African of their new nationality.
    • A fully completed application form with a full description of the innovation must
    accompany each submission; if not, the entry will be disqualified.
    • The innovation description should clearly illustrate the social and/or economic
    outcome and impact with regard to African development and the priority area
    chosen; it should also be in line with the IPA assessment and selection criteria.
    • Application forms and description of the innovation should be in English, French or
    Portuguese. While the innovations can be conducted in any language including local
    languages, the submissions should be translated and submitted in English, French or
    • Applicants are required to attach a letter of support/endorsement from an institution
    or an authority with knowledge of their innovation. This will serve as a testimony of
    how important the innovation is in addressing development challenges faced by
    • Each mandatory question on the application form MUST be answered; if not, the
    application will be deemed incomplete and disqualified.

Apply here!