The inventor of a logistics application designed to cut ambulance response times during emergencies is among African innovators recognised by the Royal Academy of Engineering as one of the continent’s future technology pioneers.
The inventor, Sesinam Dagadu’s team was identified following the 2015 Ebola outbreak to help manage future disasters, and has today been selected to the 2016/2017 shortlist for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
CodeRed is a logistics app which significantly reduces emergency response time through a custom-made mapping system for Ghanaian cities. Using software originally written to help deliver parcels faster, the life-saving CodeRed software now helps ambulances navigate dense urban areas to get to Ghanaians faster. CodeRed is currently used in 14 ambulance stations covering 4.2 million Ghanaians in Accra, the capital city. There are 132 ambulance stations in total, and the team plan to grow CodeRed beyond their home country.
The Africa Prize is organised by the Royal Academy of Engineering and aims to recognise and reward innovative African engineers, and to raise the profile of engineering in Africa.
Applications for the Africa Prize came from 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
New technologies developed by the shortlisted 16 innovators span all areas of engineering. Hailing from Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique and Uganda, the shortlisted innovators will undergo an intensive six months of training and mentorship in business and entrepreneurial skills before a winner is selected to receive the first prize of £25,000.
Now in its third year, the Africa Prize equips talented engineers with tools and expert advice to develop their innovations into a business.
“Over the years we’ve seen the Africa Prize alumni go on to develop commercially successful and socially disruptive businesses. These are the engineers who will shape Africa, solve development challenges for local communities, and inspire more innovation,” said chair of the Africa Prize judging panel, Malcolm Brinded CBE FREng.
“The strength of the Prize lies in the success of its incredible alumni, who inspire more engineers to become entrepreneurs and empower themselves to make advances in their communities and cities,” he said.
The 2016 Africa Prize winner, Arthur Zang, has taken his business from a prototype to a successful commercial business in Cameroon which manufactures locally and has government support.
“This award has allowed me to measure myself against the best engineers in Africa. I was pushed to the limits, and it has made me a better scientist and a better entrepreneur,” Zang said after receiving the Africa Prize earlier this year.
The shortlisted candidates this year represent eight African countries:
- Achiri Arnold Nji from Cameroon with Safe Travel, a mobile app that helps prevent public transport accidents
- Alex Makalliwa from Kenya with an electric Tuk-Tuk off-grid charging network
- Aline Okello from Mozambique with a rainwater harvesting app to improve access to rain harvesting equipment
- Andre Nel from South Africa with Green Tower, a solar energy micro-grid boiler
- Brian Turyabagye from Uganda with Mamaope, a biomedical jacket that diagnoses pneumonia
- Edwin Inganji from Kenya with the Usalama app, which boosts the effectiveness of community policing and speeds up emergency services’ reaction times
- Fredrick Ouko from Kenya with Riziki Source, an online platform that connects people with disabilities to jobs
- Godwin Benson from Nigeria with Tuteria, a peer-to-peer platform that connects students to tutors
- Hindu Nabulumba from Uganda with the Yaaka Network, which connects students, academics and trainers on a single social network
- James van der Walt from South Africa with the Solar Turtle, a self-contained, off-grid power utility
- Joel King’ori Kariuki from Kenya with a sisal decorticator that speeds up natural fibre production to help it compete with synthetic fibres
- Kevin Gacheru from Kenya with the Mkononi Tank Monitoring System to reduce water wastage
- Lawrence Ojok from Tanzania with the Green Rock Drill, an environmentally friendly drill for small scale mining
- Peter Mbiria from Kenya with the E-Con Wheelchair, an all-terrain wheelchair that allows users to stand upright, climb stairs and self-navigate
- Sesinam Dagadu from Ghana with CodeRed, a health management and disease surveillance app that improves emergency response times from ambulances and police
- Wilfred Fritz from South Africa with an automated solar cooker that tracks the sun and has built-in temperature and timing controls