In July this year, Accra, Ghana will play host to the 6th edition of one of Africa’s most celebrated innovation events, Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). This event will be hosted by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) in collaboration with Ghana’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), and Ghana 60 Years On Planning Committee. The decision to host IPA in Ghana has received the highest endorsement from the President of Ghana, H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who will deliver the keynote address during the Awards ceremony.

“Ghana is open for business and brimming with an ecosystem of young talent that is already being tapped into.  We thank the AIF for selecting Ghana to host the IPA 2017 event and use its platform to showcase Ghana’s innovative aspirations to the global community,” said Hon. Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI).

The event themed “African Innovation: Investing in Prosperity” also comes as Ghana celebrates its 50 years of independence. IPA 2017 promises to provide an unprecedented platform for African innovators and innovation enablers to network, share knowledge, explore business opportunities, and boost collaboration.

“We are committed to building a knowledge economy and providing platforms such as IPA to our youth to encourage them to play their role in innovatively creating solutions to African challenges. As we celebrate the 60-year anniversary of our independence, we are looking forward and committed to putting innovation at the core of our national agenda, not only to meet Ghanaian and African challenges but also to provide home-grown innovations that will become competitive globally,” Kwabena Frimpong said further.

Why was Ghana selected as the host country?

Ghana’s selection as the host country for IPA 2017 is because of its commitment towards consolidating a thriving national innovation ecosystem. In its 60 years of independence, Ghana has been an example of progressive successes that have made the country and its advancements marketable and well-respected globally. With the presence of world-class accelerators and incubators, Ghana, in recent years, has become a noted sub-regional hub for excellence in innovation. The Ghanaian technology and innovation ecosystem, led by a new generation of change-makers have received much international and local acclaim, making Ghana the ideal host country for IPA 2017.

According to Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, Founder, African Innovation Foundation, Ghana has one of the most established National Innovative Systems (NIS) for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in the West Africa sub-region. During his recent meeting with President Nana Akuffo-Addo, he highlighted his commitment to transforming Ghana into a knowledge economy and the importance of ICT in achieving the country’s objective of diversified economic growth. Ghana’s corporate and business communities are also committed to supporting efforts that raise the nation’s technology and innovation profile – and with good reason. By enabling entrepreneurs and innovators to test and scale new inventions and technologies, homegrown business solutions can help the country build resilience and secure its future prosperity.

The IPA is a landmark program of the AIF which has since its inception attracted more than 6,000 innovators from 52 African countries, making it a truly Pan-African initiative.

AIF, with its vision to increase the prosperity of Africans by catalysing the innovation spirit in Africa, has over the years offered avenues of opportunity, growth and exposure to Africa’s next generation of innovators.

IPA processes and achievements

According to the IPA Director, Ms Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, IPA has been growing stronger each year and not only that the number of applicants continues to increase, but the quality of applications too. The IPA 2017 edition attracted more than 2,530 respondents from 48 African countries; a strong indication of the creative potential that exists in Africa. Our goal is to unleash such potential. Our impact already speaks volume as we count approximately $ 22 million investment value generated for IPA winners and nominees.

The 2017 edition call for applications ran from 27 September 2016 through to 3 January 2017 and proposed innovations showcased African ingenuity in the following five key categories: Agriculture and Agri-business; Environment, Energy and Water; Health and Well-being; ICTs; and Manufacturing and Service Industries. An expert panel of judges will carefully select Africa’s new crop of innovators through a rigorous, transparent process of critique, validation, interview and consensus.

What you didn’t know about the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA)

  • IPA has been successfully celebrated in African major capitals representing African regions: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2012), Cape Town, South Africa (2013), Abuja, Nigeria (2014), Skhirat, Morocco (2015) and more recently in Gaborone, Botswana (2016)
  • Besides a host of exciting side events and brand new initiatives for Africa by Africans, IPA 2017 will offer the following prizes and incentives to winners and nominees:
    • Grand prize of $100,000
    • Second Prize of $25,000
    • Special Prize for Social Impact $25,000
    • A voucher for each of the seven IPA nominees of $5,000
    • Additional incentives include investment opportunities, training and access to our vibrant network of innovation enablers, ongoing PR support and media coverage
    • Organisations who are keen to support IPA 2017 by way of sponsorship and other means of collaboration are invited to contact AIF to arrange for meetings to discuss opportunities. These organisations may include key stakeholders from the public and private sector, including local and multi-national companies, investment companies, Banks, institutional organisations, civil society organisations, innovation hubs and academic institutions.

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