Ghana will host the prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa 2017 event on the 17th and 18th July, which is under the patronage of H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and endorsed by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and Ghana 60yrs on Planning Committee.
The “Innovation Prize for Africa” is a landmark initiative of the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) which seeks to support the development of African innovation ecosystems through ongoing collaborative programs and strategic partnerships with governments and innovation influencers across the region.
Innovation Prize for Africa has been successfully celebrated in Africa major capitals representing African regions: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2012), Cape Town, South Africa (2013), Abuja, Nigeria (2014), Skhirat, Morocco (2015) and more recently Gaborne, Botswana (2016).
The AIF was established in 2009 as a non-profit organization registered in Switzerland and Angola. Their main aim is to increase the prosperity of Africans by catalyzing the innovation spirit in Africa. The IPA has made cash investments of $14.5m generated for 45 winners /nominees. The goal of the IPA 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.
Program director of IPA Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl encouraged applicants to state clearly what the innovation is about and the problem it is trying to solve. The best way to start is by going to their website then click on “APPLY NOW”. She advised applicants to read the “CALL FOR APPLICATIONS” first as it provides useful information about how to apply and win.
Five main criteria’s are applied by the jury to determine the winner; this includes originality, marketability, scalability, social impact and finally scientific/technical aspects.
Prof . Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation(MESTI) who was speaking at the media launch at the Movenpic Hotel in Accra said, “Ghana is a country of innovators and given the right tools , encouragement, and support the creative potential of Ghanaians , especially the young ones, will be unleashed to find solutions to socio-economic challenges facing us”.
Ghana is a country which is blessed with natural resources, and young innovative minds will be needed to tap into these resources and create solutions to our immediate problems as a country.
“We are blessed with natural resources, but as we all know natural resources have no natural owners. The real owners are those masters of innovation who, over the years, have developed the technology to exploit the resources. If we want to be the masters of our natural resources then we have to be master innovators, so we can develop technologically” the minister noted.
He assured that the government will do its part by providing all inputs, such as developing Market and enhancing governance structures.
Speaking to the BFT, the minister stressed the importance of science and technology and said “The whole world is about science, everything in the universe is about science and without science and technology we are getting no where, the poverty gap as we all know is technology gap, if we have the technology to do things for ourselves we will not need help from anybody”
With the innovation prize of 100,000 dollars for the winner, the minister stated that he is sure this money will motivate Ghanaians from all walks of life to participate, he emphasized that this is not for only scientist, engineers, and research institutions alone, but is also for ordinary Ghanaians who will come up with something to solve a problem either in sanitation, water supply, or in agriculture. “Just come and showcase what you have, and you can possibly win the prize money”, he said.
He went further and stated that the president is very committed to the development of Science and Technology, thereby in the 2016 manifesto of the Npp, a promise was made to allocate 1% of GDP towards research, development and innovation. He maintained that the legal framework must be created to asses these funds, so that research and development can be enhanced in Ghana.
He also stated how science and Technology will soon be helping in solving our energy problems, because currently 2.2megawat of power is fed into the national grade with compost as by-product. This he said is done on the NGO scene, “sacristianna” a company which is processing about 30 tons of waste everyday. We are in exciting times and all Ghanaians must be part of it. He said.