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Anti-Malaria Drug Wins African Innovation Award

PAULINE DIKUELO
Dr Valentin Agon from Benin has won this year’s Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) walking away with $100,000 after developing an anti-malaria drug treatment made from a natural plant extract.

The only female in the top 10, Dr Imogen Wright of South African, took the second position walking away with $25,000 together with second runner up Dr Eddy Agbo from Nigeria who also won $25,000 while the remaining seven from the top 10 each walked away with $5,000.

Dr Wright came up with a software solution that enables healthcare workers to determine HIV positive patient’s responsiveness to ARV drug treatment while Dr Agbo developed Urine test for Malaria, a rapid non-blood diagnostic medical device that can diagnose malaria in less than 25 minutes.

IPA intends to strengthen African innovation ecosystems and spur the growth of market-driven African solutions to African challenges.

This year’s IPA awards, which were in their fifth year, had about 3,600 entries from 46 countries.  After rigorous reviewing, validation, interviews they selected the top 10 who made it to the semi-finals.

IPA awards are sponsored by African Innovation Foundation (AIF), which promotes innovation and sustainable development in Africa.

Speaking during

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the awards ceremony last week, AIF Board chairman, Walter Fust said that the number of entries they received is a testimony that innovators want to connect and network into their endeavours to realise their dreams of bringing their innovation to market maturity.

“Innovation is a key enabler for development in any country globally. We hope that our IPA initiative can be a contribution to this important mobilising effort on the continent,” Fust said.

AIF founding board member, Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais assured innovators that they would continue sponsoring this award for the next five years adding that it is important for Africans to start producing their own products to reduce imports.

“We want to create a digital platform where all enablers of innovation can connect to ensure that the quality amongst innovators increases,” he added.

According to Bastos de Morais, since the inception of the awards five years ago, they have awarded 14 winners to the tune of $750,000.



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