The Royal Academy of Engineering has awarded a winner in the continent-wide competition for The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation on June 1. The prize is aimed at finding the best new technologies that can influence development.
At an event hosted in Cape Town to announce the winners, Tanzanian Chemical Engineer, Dr Askwar Hilonga was in shock as he was crowned Africa’s most innovative Engineer. Dr Askwar Hilonga is from the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science & Technology in Tanzania and invented a low-cost water filtration system that makes the most of sand-based water filters and nanotechnology.
For this innovation, Hilonga wins £25 000, and runners-up Pretorius Ernst, Musenga Silwawa and Samuel Wangui each walk away with £10 000. Ernst Pretorius from Pretoria invented a low-cost fence-mounted security system, Zambian Musenga Silwawa from invented spot fertiliser applicator and Samuel Wangui from Kenya a SIM-card swapping service.
They are also to receive mentoring and support in order to facilitate the development of their respective technologies to commercial capability.
For Hilonga , the prize is confirmation that the engineering challenges in Africa can be solved by young people and he hopes ” this will inspire many university students and young academics”. As the winner of the first edition, he is enthusiastic that more university academics would come up with innovations that can impact their communities and come forward to compete for the prize. ” I can’t imagine the explosion because of this [prize], because now they see it’s a reality”.
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, which is an initiative of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering, now enters its second year and calls on innovators in Africa to submit their entries by June 29, 2015.