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African Innovation Foundation Announces Finalists

Izunna Okpala

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Flag map of the world

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) today announced the top 10 nominees who will be contending for the 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa.

Flag map of the world

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) today announced the top 10 nominees who will be contending for the 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa. The winners will be announced in Accra, Ghana on 18th July 2017 and will see innovators from nine African countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe battle it out for the prestigious Prize.

This year’s innovators have demonstrated incredible proficiency through innovative solutions addressing challenges in agriculture value chain, health care, energy, communications, service industries as well as surveillance using drone technology.

This year’s cream of the crop underwent a rigorous selection process by a renowned panel of judges including corporates, academia, technology and scientific experts representing top African innovation influencers.

 The inspiring stories of these nominees remind us that innovation and African-led solutions are indeed the answer to Africa’s growth and prosperity.” said Walter Fust, AIF Chairman of the Board.

The Awards, now celebrating its sixth year under the theme “African Innovation: Investing in Prosperity”,  IPA offers contenders a shot at a grand share-prize of US$185 000 and incentives to spur growth and prosperity in Africa through home-grown solutions.

IPA has seen tremendous growth in applications and increasing interest from both innovators and innovation enablers over the years. To date, IPA has attracted more than 7 500 innovators from 52 African countries, making it a truly Pan African initiative. IPA 2017 edition witnessed a record number of entries from over 2 530 innovators across 48 African countries. The Foundation has supported past winners and nominees with approximately US$ 1 million to move their innovations forward. Due to exposure generated by IPA, past winners have gone on to secure over US$30 million in investments to grow and scale their businesses.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to work with our partners to ensure the innovations of the 10 nominees will be available to African markets and beyond. We invite you to join us and unlock the potential of African innovators, starting by investing in these 10 nominees.” said Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, IPA Director.

AIF will host the IPA 2017 awards ceremony and its second Innovation Ecosystems Connector on 17 and 18 July in Accra, Ghana. The event will focus on how innovation enablers and businesses can leverage funding streams, investments and resources that are critical to unlock potential of African innovators. Participants at the IPA Awards will get an opportunity to attend the official opening of IPA 2017, experience the innovation marketplace, join high-level roundtable discussions, Zua Hub meet-ups, and networking activities, ending with a celebration of African ingenuity when the IPA 2017 winners will be announced.

The 10 nominees:

  • Peris Bosire, Kenya: FarmDrive is a financial technology company that has developed a mobile phone based application that collects data and provides an alternative risk assessment model for small holder farmers.
  • Nokwethu Khojane, South Africa: Lakheni, Turning Social Capital into Buying Power is a social and business model innovation which seeks to aggregate low-income households into buying-groups in order to negotiate favourable discounts for goods and services supplied to these households.
  • Omolabake Adenle, Nigeria: Voice Recognition and Speech Synthesis Software for African Languages is a software solution that can understand and digitize spoken African languages, and synthesize speech from African languages presented as digitized text.
  • Nzola Swasisa, Democratic Republic of Congo: Lokole is a device that enables access to efficient email communication anywhere with cellular coverage at a price that is one hundred to one thousand times cheaper than accessing email via regular cellular bandwidth costs.
  • Badr Idriss, Morocco: Atlan Space develops software technology that is then deployed to manage the operations of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones.
  • Aly El-Shafei, Egypt: Smart Electro-Mechanical Actuator Journal Integrated Bearing “SEMAJIB” is a smart bearing which is versatile and can change its characteristics as it operates.
  • Dougbeh-Chris Nyan, Liberia: New Technology for Rapid Detection of Many Infections Using Only One Test is a rapid diagnostic test that can detect and simultaneously differentiate at least three to seven infections at the same time within 10 to 40 minutes.
  • Olanisun Olufemi Adewole, Nigeria: Sweat TB Test, A non-invasive rapid skin test to detect Tuberculosis  Sweat TB Test, is a non-invasive rapid diagnostic test to detect tuberculosis (TB). TB is second only to HIV/AIDS as a leading cause of death in Africa.
  • Gift Gana, Zimbabwe: Dr. CADx is a software solution that helps doctors and health care workers diagnose medical images more accurately.
  • Philippa Ngaju Makobore, Uganda: Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion Set (ECGF) is medical device designed to accurately administer intravenous (IV) fluids and drugs by controlling the rate of fluid flow based on feedback from a drop sensor.

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US inauguration: How to watch the inauguration and parade

Izunna Okpala

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Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris will be sworn in as the President and Vice of the United States of America respectively. They will be along with their spouses, Jill Biden and Douglas Emhoff. They will conduct a review of the military and visit Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. They will be joined by three former presidents and their wives, who will also be present at the swearing-in: Barack and Michelle Obama, George W. and Laura Bush, and Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Watch the live coverage below:

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A conference on blockchain and health is scheduled to be held at the Africa Blockchain Developers Call.

Izunna Okpala

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The Africa Blockchain Developers Call (ABDC) Pan-African Bootcamp on blockchain technology has declared its intention to hold a weekend conference on incorporating blockchain technology into Africa’s health sector.

In an attempt to execute comprehensive blockchain training sessions and promote the implementation of specially designed applications for different sectors in Africa, the Bootcamp, officially launched on 5 September, has taken on a host of African developers.

The Bootcamp also features virtual weekend conferences on many use-cases for blockchain. These conferences are aimed at encouraging creative and comprehensive discussions on the implementation of blockchain technology in Africa, including platform presentations by businesses and panel sessions on many Blockchain issues. The first meeting, focusing on Blockchain in Finance, took place on September 5. It featured a keynote speech given by Professor Anicia Peters, University of Namibia Pro-Vice Chancellor for Science, Innovation and Development.

The next conference, scheduled to take place on October 3rd, will focus on the theme: Blockchain in Health. The keynote speech will be given by Arnab Paul, President of the Kolkata Chapter in India. Several organizations and startups will also give platform presentations via their representatives based on medical use cases for blockchain technology.

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HealthPlus is experiencing a power struggle 2 years after obtaining $18 m from Alta Semper Capital

Izunna Okpala

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A press release apparently released on September 25 by the Board of HealthPlus, one of the largest integrated pharmacy chains in West Africa, confirmed that the company no longer needed the services of its founder, Bukky George, as CEO.

The decision to terminate the appointment of George came with the announcement of Chidi Okoro, the interim leader.

Okoro, a renowned pharmacist and management executive, is to take on the position of Chief Officer of Transformation. Okoro, akin to the position of a CEO, can simplify day-to-day management, help the company scale, and achieve profitability.

And a letter that appears to be from the board of HealthPlus to the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) states that George “remains a shareholder of the company, a member of the board of the company, and may engage at board level in the company’s decision-making process.”

Afsane Jetha and Zachary Fond, Managing Partner & CEO, and Director of Alta Semper Capital, respectively, have signed it off.

From investment and partnership to a fight for power

Alta Semper Capital LLP is a private equity (PE) company that invests in Africa-wide healthcare and consumer businesses. In 2017, the PE company invested in Macro Pharma, a medicated cosmetics company in Egypt.

It made deals with HealthPlus and the Moroccan oncology and radiology clinic, Oncologie et Radiologie du Maroc (ODM), the following year.

The letter from Alta Semper Capital to the PCN

Source Techpoint

The HealthPlus investment was $18 million.

HealthPlus, founded by George in 1999, has expanded to more than 90 retail outlets, employing over 850 employees, including more than 150 pharmacists. In Nigeria, the company claims to be present in 11 of the 36 states in the world.

Operating branches in strategically placed suburban areas, airports, and shopping malls are also recognized.

Alta Semper Capital ‘s investment was to help HealthPlus grow its store footprint. In addition, to attract more talent, grow fulfillment centers and pursue initiatives in eCommerce.

The cash inflow, however, is said to have given the PE firm a majority stake in the company, which is one of the reasons why the company is facing problems at the moment.

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