Unlocking Creative Solutions from Engineers – 4 Ugandans Vie for Top Prize


TechInAfrica – Africans are creative and innovative, but often they are constrained by capital to do further research. However, an opportunity is offered to those who can prove their creativity. The 2018 Africa Prize for Engineering will have four participants from Uganda who have qualified for the race. There will be only 16 participants who have been shortlisted, and the most talented African will be recognized. The shortlist was just announced from Capetown, South Africa.

The award program was launched in 2014 by Royale Academy and usually comes with a six-month support program. During the six months, one has access to training and mentorship as the academy also finances the projects. The innovations are not limited to engineering but other areas such as agriculture, audio aid for visually impaired, renewable energy, healthcare and other fields of study. We expect that by June 2018, the candidates will be in a position to present their projects before the judges and live audience and the winner will be awarded £25,000. The first, second and third runners-up will also receive £10,000 each.

Brian Gitta is one of the shortlisted candidates from Uganda who is the mind behind Matibabu. Malaria being a predominant disease in Africa, he thought of coming up with a device to test malaria quickly.  He developed a pocket-friendly and reusable device that tests malaria without drawing blood. Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, recognized his innovation and offered him $50 000 in 2015. Besides, he has received funds from international organizations to continue with the research.

The brains behind Khainza Energy Gas couldn’t be left out of the race since Arthur Woniala is recognized for utilizing manure to make biogas that is safe for household use. Alvin Kabwana will be another participant from Uganda who developed UriSAF healthcare kit. The kit is used to test urine and find out if there are infections and it’s affordable and quick. Another Ugandan in the race aiming for the price is the developer of Sparky Dryer, Mr. Lawrence Okettayot. He strives to reduce food wastage that’s why he developed a low-tech machine that dries vegetables and fruits completely. The participants are expected to find investors and clients during their final presentation. Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, the Ugandan Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation said that he will ensure the developers are protected by giving them patent rights. The ministry mainly supports home-grown innovations but now wants to emphasize on protecting the existing innovations so that the developers translate these into wealth.

The organizers anticipate seeing African engineers coming up with solutions that are socio-economic and environmentally friendly leading to sustainable development. According to judge Moses Musaazi, there’s need to turn engineers to entrepreneurs for African development.


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