Five women from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Africa have been selected as Africa’s Top Women Innovators; for their innovations in the areas of IT training, solar-powered vending carts, mobile health insurance, and food processing and biomedical materials.
Audrey Cheng established the Moringa School in Nairobi, Kenya enabling an entire generation to gain the necessary skills to compete in the digital economy; Natalie Bitature of Kampala, Uganda uses frugal innovation to develop environmentally friendly, solar-powered vending carts; and Tanzanian Lillian Makoi’s bimaAFYA offers mobile micro-health insurance for low-income earners in the informal sector.
Larissa Uwase’s Carl Group is improving the health of the population in Kigali, Rwanda by innovating new food products from the sweet potato staple crop; and Nneile Nkholise of iMED Tech Group in Bloemfontein, South Africa uses additive manufacturing to design breast and facial prostheses for cancer and burn victims and only employs women.
The five are attending the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda where they will meet other social entrepreneurs and impact investors; and participate in discussions relevant to their expertise and interests.
Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa at WEF said: “The 21st century will be Africa’s century, its young population has the potential to build a world where they are not only materially better off, but also where things are fairer, more sustainable and more tolerant than at any other time in history. But this will not be achieved unless women are able to make a full contribution. This is why we are showcasing Africa’s best female entrepreneurs in Kigali this week.”
The criteria for the Africa Top Women Innovators Challenge 2016 required entrants’ companies to be less than three years old, be earning revenue for at least a year and have proven innovation and positive social impact.
The judging panel which included Amini Kajunju, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Africa-America Institute and Member of the Global Agenda Council on the Economics of Innovation; Rapelang Rabana, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, ReKindle Learning and Global Shaper; and Arun Sharma, Director-General, Next Einstein Foundation also gave special mention to the following shortlisted entrants:
Oyindola Honey Ogundeyi, FashPa Online Nigeria: vertically integrated online fashion retailer; Mercy Kitomari, Nelwa’s Gelato Tanzania: fast-growing supplier of high-end ice creams and sorbets, employing only women; Louisa Ofusuah Obimpeh, Pooparazzi Ghana: harvests human waste to make methane gas, fire briquettes, fertilizer and fuel; and Evelyn Namara, !nnovate Uganda: mobile vouchers used by farmers to redeem for seed from agro-dealers; and Elizabeth Nyeko, Mandulis Energy Uganda: develops, owns and operates biomass plants.
Over 1, 200 participants from more than 70 countries are taking part in WEF on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda from 11th to 13th May 2016 under the theme, “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation”.
Source: Footprint to Africa