WEF Africa Female Innovators
WEF Africa Female Innovators. From left: Nneile Nkholise of iMED Tech Group, Bloemfontein, South Africa; Larissa Uwase of CARL GROUP, Kigali, Rwanda and Audrey Cheng of Moringa School, Nairobi, Kenya at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda (Photo: Bellanaija.com)

On Friday 13 May 2016, the World Economic Forum on Africa took place in Kigali, Rwanda.

Before the event, a call for applications from young African female innovators was made. On the day, The forum presented the 5 young women listed below as the winners of the Top Female Innovators Challenge. The winners originated from Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

These inspiring young women are innovators in the areas including mobile health insurance, solar powered vending carts, bio medical materials and IT training as well as food processing.

In addition to the five winners, the judges also wished to give special mention to the following five shortlisted entrants:

  • Oyindola Honey Ogundeyi, FashPa Online, Nigeria: Vertically integrated online fashion retailer
  • Mercy Kitomari, Nelwa’s Gelato, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Fast-growing supplier of high-end ice creams and sorbets, employing only women
  • Louisa Ofusuah Obimpeh, Pooparazzi, Accra, Ghana: Pooparazzi harvests human waste to make methane gas, fire briquettes fertilizer and fuel
  • Evelyn Namara, !nnovate Uganda: Mobile vouchers that are used by farmers to redeem for seed from agro-dealers
  • Elizabeth Nyeko, Mandulis Energy, Uganda: Develops, owns and operates biomass plants

The Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum, Elsie Kanza, also noted that

“I strongly believe that the 21st century will be Africa’s century, that its young population has the potential to build a world where they are not only materially better off, but also where things are fairer, more sustainable and more tolerant than at any other time in history. But this will not be achieved unless women are able to make a full contribution. This is why we are showcasing Africa’s best female entrepreneurs in Kigali this week

The criteria for the required entrant companies was as follow:

  • The company to be less than three years old
  • Earning revenue for at least a year
  • Have a proven innovation and positive social impact.

A shortlist of winners was selected by a panel comprising experts from across Forum stakeholder groups.

To get the full story, Watch the Video below:

Meet The Top 5 WEF African Female Innovators

5Natalie Bitature, Musana Carts, Kampala, Uganda

Natalie Bitature of Musana Carts, Kampala, Uganda (Credit: VentureAfrica.com)

Musana Carts has used frugal innovation to develop environmentally friendly, solar-powered vending carts. With a price point of $400, each Musana Cart saves 3,000 tons of carbon emissions and improves the health of cities by eliminating pollution from charcoal and kerosene stoves.

4Audrey Cheng, Moringa School, Nairobi, Kenya

Audrey Cheng, Co-founder of Moringa School (Credit: Forbes.com)

Audrey Cheng established Moringa School to enable a whole generation to gain the skills they need to compete in the digital economy. Two years on, graduates work in the top tech companies in the region, earning on average 350% more than before they completed the coursework. Audrey Cheng was also listed in the Forbes 2016 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs

3Lilian Makoi Rabi, bimaAFYA, Tanzania

Lilian Makoi Rabi (Credit: VentureAfrica.com)

bimaAFYA offers mobile micro-health insurance for the low income and informal sector, enabling healthcare services by drastically reducing costs with its completely mobile, paperless solution. bimaAFYA plans to expand to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria and Ghana in 2017.

2Larissa Uwase, CARL GROUP, Kigali, Rwanda

Larissa Uwase (Credit: Facebook.com)

CARL GROUP is improving the health of the nation by innovating new food products from a staple crop, the sweet potato. An agronomist by training, Larissa Uwase’s latest innovation, in partnership with the University of Rwanda, is to make spaghetti from the vegetable.

1Nneile Nkholise, iMED Tech Group, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Nneile Nkholise (Credit: VentureAfrica)

iMED Tech Group uses additive manufacturing to design breast and facial prostheses for cancer and burn victims. The company only employs African women under the age of 30 with research backgrounds in mechanical engineering.