Innovative prize for Africa

Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) is scheduled to host multitudes of visionaries from different parts of the African continent including locals for the 5TH Innovation Prize for Africa (IPAs) Awards to be held in Gaborone on the 22-23rd of June. The diamond city will occupy centre stage in the continental modernization space as it hosts the prestigious awards for the first time since inception of the IPAs in 2011. The IPA was established in 2011 with the main goal of mobilizing for African innovators and entrepreneurs who deliver market-oriented solutions for African-led development. It is also meant to strengthen African innovators as well as connect the continents ecosystems and create business opportunities.
Even though no one from Botswana made the shortlist this year, the 10 finalists shortlisted from the 5000+ submissions stand a chance to nick the grand prize of  $100 000 for their original “Made in Africa” pioneering venture. The second prize is $25 000 and another $25 000 will be a special prize for Social Impact. Another interesting development this year will be the IPA’s spotlight on female innovators.
According to the Director of Cluster Development at BIH, Dr Budzanani Tacheba, it does not come as a surprise that a Motswana did not make the shortlist considering that Botswana’s innovation pace is still at infancy stage in comparison to other countries. He admits that BIH has failed Batswana in this regard but they have concrete plans to change that.
He affirmed that the partnership between the African Innovation Foundation(AIF) and BIH was a deliberate move bearing in mind that Botswana is celebrating 50 years of independence and the IPAs are celebrating 5 years in operation.
“We want to create hype for local innovators to see that innovation can be rewarded as well as provide a platform for them to network and learn how to better their craft,” said Tacheba.
The main event will take place over two days, 22- 23 June, comprising several activities, including a stimulating design thinking workshop, an innovation village and the renowned Awards ceremony. According to Tacheba, BIH searched the country for brilliant innovators who have since been invited to attend the event. The event is expected to catalyse interaction, expand connections, and information share and exchange. Participants usually include scientists, technologists, public health professionals, business/entrepreneurs, government agencies, industry specialists, innovators as well as media representatives.
With endorsement from the Government of Botswana (GoB) and collaborating partners, the Ministry of Infrastructure Science and Technology and the BIH,the IPAs will be focused on five thematic areas : Manufacturing  and Service Industry, Agriculture/Agribusiness, Information Communication Technologies, Health, Education and Wellbeing, and Environment, Energy and Water.
BIH is encouraging the public to attend the two day event in order to be inspired, learn and experience what Africa holds in the innovation space.