Egyptian Wins First Innovation Prize for Africa


ECA Press Release No. 39/2012

Addis Ababa, 26 March 2012 (ECA) – The United Nation Economic Commission for Africa and the Africa Innovation Foundation hosted an awards ceremony to celebrate African ingenuity. The ceremony took place on the sidelines of the ongoing Conference of ministers of Finance and planning that is deliberating the actions needed to turn Africa into a New Growth Pole for the global economy. The annual awards honour and encourage innovative achievements that contribute toward developing new products, increasing efficiency or saving cost in Africa.

Mr. Mohamed Sanad, a professor at the faculty of Engineering in Cairo University, won the first Innovation Prize for Africa, worth US$ 100,000 for inventing the first small internal integrated micro strip antennas for mobile phones.  Mr. Zeinu Adelyamine from Algeria took the second price, worth US$ 50,000 for developing environmentally friendly insecticides and rodenticides.

Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ECA, thanked the nominees for submitting innovative concepts and projects, and stated that the high interest shown suggests that Africa has a growing pool of innovators who, if nurtured, would produce successful technology entrepreneurs.

In his speech Mr. Janneh, recognized the excellent cooperation between the African Innovation Foundation, a Swiss-based, non-profit organization, and ECA, which has resulted in the establishment of the Innovation Prize for Africa, a project aimed at responding to the need to stimulate Science, Technology and Innovation.

For his part, Mr. Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, Co-founder of the African Innovation Foundation, explained that the award is designed to promote the pursuit of science, technology and engineering careers among young African men and women and especially to develop innovative solutions with a great potential for commercialization. He congratulated the nominees for their hard work and expressed his admiration for the work done by the judges.

Earlier this month, the panel of judges shortlisted seven entries from a total of 458 applications from 38 countries submitted for consideration. The remaining five finalists were each granted a certificate of recognition at the ceremony.

BBC Journalist Komla Dumor who served as Master of Ceremony at the ceremony congratulating the seven finalists said, “Although not all finalists received prizes, they are still winners”.

More information on the winners, the nominees and the projects can be found at:

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© 2012 Economic Commission for Africa