South Africans nominated for Innovation Prize for Africa


first_imgFour South African innovations have made it on to this year’s list of 10 nominees for the Innovation Prize for Africa. Its aim is to encourage local solutions to challenges and inspire continued growth on the continent. The winner will be announced in a ceremony in June in Botswana. This year’s Innovation Prize for Africa takes place in June in Botswana. Four South Africans are in the running. (Image: African Press Organisation)• Girls in space! Africa’s first private satellite – designed by schoolgirls• How can digital technology boost growth in Africa?• Busting the myth that Africa doesn’t produce scientific innovators• African scientists make headway in grasping persistent TB bacteria• Robotic gliders boost for ocean research• Meet the global leaders heading WEF Africa 2016 Priya PitamberFour South Africans have been included in the list of 10 nominees announced for the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). Run by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) and now in its fifth year, this year’s theme is “Made in Africa”. The aim is to create home-grown solutions for Africa to spur growth and prosperity on the continent.“As Africans, we have the talent, potential and clout to solve our own problems with ingenuity too, and IPA is testimony of this,” said IAP director Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl. “In the past five years, I’ve seen innovation grow from a mere buzzword to a sturdy path for African growth in multidisciplinary industries across the continent.”There has been tremendous growth in applications and keen interest from innovators and innovation enablers since the inception of the awards. “IPA 2016 attracted a record 3 600-plus innovators and received 985 successful submissions from 46 African countries,” it said in a statement. To date, it has attracted more than 6 000 innovators from 50 African countries.The nominees and their inventionsThis year, the nominees include breakthrough innovations in malaria and other public health burdens, smart solutions for farmers and dynamic energy initiatives.Tackling malaria and other public health concernsDr Eddy Agbo, Nigeria: Urine Test for MalariaUrine Test for Malaria (UMT) is a rapid non-blood diagnostic medical device that is able diagnose malaria in less than 25 minutes. Africa is still in the process of eradicating malaria. Diagnosis of the disease can take a long time, and if the patient is not treated quickly enough, it can lead to kidney failure, lung fluid build-up, and even death.The technology in the UMT detects malaria parasite proteins in the patient’s urine. The UMT is simple and affordable, and a potential game changer in managing malaria across Africa.Valentin Agon, Benin: Api-PaluApi-Palu is an anti-malaria drug treatment developed out of natural plant extract. It is significantly cheaper than available anti-malarial drugs, and has great inhibitory effects on 3D7 strains of plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria.The drug is available in tablets, capsules or syrup. It has been approved in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Central Africa Republic because of its therapeutic and non-toxic effects.Dr Imogen Wright, South Africa: ExatypeExatype is a software solution that enables health care workers to determine the responsiveness of HIV-positive patients to antiretroviral (ARV) drug treatment. A growing number of people are increasingly resistant to ARVs. Exatype processes the highly complex data produced by advanced “next-generation” DNA sequencing of the HIV DNA in a patient’s blood. Through a simple report, it detects drugs that are resistant to the patient, then highlights the need to avoid these to ensure successful treatment.It has the potential to contribute towards effectively managing HIV/Aids in Africa, and also holds promise in helping to detect drug resistance for other diseases, such as tuberculosis and malaria.Dr Kit Vaughan, South Africa: AcesoAceso improves breast cancer detection by using imaging technology that is capable of performing full-field digital mammography and automated breast ultrasound at the same time.If diagnosed early enough, the cancer can be treated successfully. However, because 40% of women have dense tissue, their cancers cannot be seen on X-ray. Furthermore, a false negative finding can have devastating consequences. This world first system is protected by international patents and has been successfully tested in two separate clinical trials with 120 women.IF you could do one innovative thing to show your LOVE for #Africa, what would it be? #MadeinAfrica #IPA2016 pic.twitter.com/DwGVy5EkQS— IPA Prize (@IPAprize) May 3, 2016Design architecture and learning platformsDr Youssef Rashed, Egypt: The Plate PackageThe Plate Package (PLPAK) is a software solution that assesses the architecture of building plans or technical drawings, determining structural integrity of the end design. PLPAK applies the boundary element based method to analyse and view practical design of building foundations and slabs.It enables engineers to represent building slabs over sophisticated foundation models easily, building information modelling techniques and eliminating human error. With the rapid growth of African cities, there is increased demand for infrastructural developments to support the growing population.Godwin Benson, Nigeria: TuteriaTuteria is an innovative peer-to-peer learning online platform that allows people who want to learn any skill, whether formal or informal, to connect with anyone else near them who is offering that skill. For instance, a student needing maths skills can connect online with someone in their vicinity offering remedial classes in mathematics.Tutors and learners form an online community that connects them, and once a fit is established, they meet offline for practical exchange. Both tutors and learners are thoroughly vetted to ensure safety, accountability and a quality learning experience.Smart farming solutionsOlufemi Odeleye, Nigeria: the TryctorThe Tryctor is a mini tractor modelled on the motorcycle. By attaching various farming implements, it can carry out similar operations as a conventional tractor, but on a smaller scale.Through inspired alterations to a motorcycle’s engine, gearing system and chassis, this innovation has made it possible to mechanise agriculture in Africa for small-scale farmers in a way that was previously not possible.Additionally, the Tryctor is easy to use and cheaper to maintain as 60% of its parts and components are locally sourced.Samuel Rigu, Kenya: Safi Sarvi OrganicsSafi Sarvi Organics is a low-cost fertiliser made from purely organic products and waste from farm harvests, designed to improve yields for farmers by up to 30%.Safi Sarvi costs the same as traditional fertilisers, can reverse farmers’ soil degradation and lead to improved yield and income. The product uses biochar-based fertiliser that can counteract soil acidity, retaining nutrients and moisture in the soil.The carbon-rich fertiliser also removes carbon from the atmosphere by at least 2.2 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per acre of farm per year. The nominees for this year’s Innovation Prize for come from all over the continent. (Image: IPA, Facebook)Dynamic energy initiativesAndre Nel, South Africa: Green TowerGreen Tower is an off-grid water heating and air conditioning solution based on solar power that uses advanced thermos-dynamics to create up to 90% savings in electricity consumption.The Green Tower improves efficiency of a solar heat pump with solar thermal collectors, low pressure storage tanks and heat exchangers.With Africa’s middle class rapidly growing and demand for energy outstripping supply, this initiative has the potential for large-scale roll out. Green Tower can conserve limited energy resources, diverting them from heating and cooling systems to more productive industries.Johan Theron, South Africa: PowerGuardPowerGuard enables consumers to determine the maximum amount of power supply required for daily operations. Consumers can thus reduce their power demand, especially during peak times, leading to a more efficient power supply, and helping to reduce power cuts.Consumers are able to set their own maximum peak power usage needs. This technology substantially reduces load shedding and power rationing, diverting power to more productive industries.The existence of a smart grid can help to reduce the pressure on existing infrastructure while moving the continent slowly towards renewable energy.The big nightThe winner will be announced at a gala ceremony on 23 June at the Gaborone International Conference Centre in Botswana.Watch this:There is a grand share prize of $150 000 (about R2.3-million).last_img read more

Matt Saal, May 21


first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Things have been going really well here. Most people I have talked to are wrapping things up with planting. We are finished with beans and we are finished with corn, other than what we will plant after we get hay chopped.It seems like everybody in Wayne County is mowing hay this week. It has been cool enough that the hay is not drying very fast enough, even for chopping. We are having to leave it an extra day just to chop it. We pretty much chop most everything. This time of year we mow it, let it set a day and then chop it the next day. In the warmer months we mow it one day and chop it the next. This will end up being a little on the wetter side.Most people I have talked to say their alfalfa mixes have done very well this spring, but the small grains that have been taken for forage have not been yielding all that well this year. It may have been that hot weather we got. The small grains like the cool springs and we were hot and dry there for several days. That may have hurt the yields.I have been seeing a little uneven emergence in the corn and soybeans but it is not bad. We are still on the dry side. We have had a lot of spotty rains here in northern Wayne County. They have gotten a lot more rain in the southern part of the county.I have not seen any pest problems in the fields yet.last_img read more

Who will star in Dhyan Chand biopic; Shah Rukh Khan or Ranbir Kapoor?


first_imgAt a time when Bollywood is smitten by sportsmen spirit and their lives, news of new film being made on hockey legend Dhyan Chand are surfacing. Be it Bhaag Milkha Bhaag or the latest on the block Mary Kom, filmmakers are in awe of sports personalities.According to latest reports the film will be helmed by Ila Bedi Dutta, who penned Agneepath, and will be produced by Pooja Shetty.A leading publication reports that Shah Rukh Khan had been approached for this role, but the filmmakers haven’t heard from him for a while now. And now, they are keen on getting Ranbir Kapoor on the block for the main lead role.  Earlier, Ila Bedi was quoted as saying, “I met Shah Rukh to discuss the project. To us, he is the perfect choice for Dhyan Chand. Though we haven’t heard from him yet, we expect him to sign the dotted line.”Also, Abhishek Bachchan, SRK’s co-star in their next film Happy New Year, feels that Shah Rukh can do justice to the role.At Pro Kabaddi League, Abhishek Bachchan, who owns Jaipur Pink Panthers, said, “A sportsman whose life will be fantastic on screen is Major Dhyan Chand. It will be an unbelievable story. These are the stories that need to be told. I told Shah Rukh Khan (during the shoot of Happy New Year) to make a film on it and play the protagonist, because he looks a lot like him. If you see his photo, you ust need to change Shah Rukh’s hair a bit. Shah Rukh was a hockey player. I think he will be fantastic.” Well… lets see, who confirms the news first. But the question is, whom do you want to see as Dhayan Chand on the big screen?advertisementlast_img read more

Drone attack detrimental for ties with US: Pak army chief


first_imgFrom Sajjad HussainIslamabad, May 25 (PTI) Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif today told the US envoy that the American drone attack on Pakistani soil to kill Taliban chief Mullah Mansour is detrimental to bilateral ties and counter-productive for the Afghan peace process.US Ambassador David Hale visited the militarys General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, the army said.The situation arising after US drone strike in Balochistan on May 22 came under discussion during talks between Sharif and the US envoy, it said.”While expressing his serious concerns over the said drone strike, the Chief of the Army Staff said such acts of sovereignty violations are detrimental to relations between both countries and are counter-productive for the ongoing peace process for regional stability,” army said.It is for the first time that army has spoken on the issue.Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan yesterday refused to confirm the death of Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour but said a DNA test will be done to establish the identity of a man killed in a US drone strike last week.He had condemned the drone attack as violation of Pakistans territory and said it may lead to serious implication for relations between Pakistan and the US. PTI SH NSAlast_img read more

Kate Upton, Justin Verlander welcome first child


first_imgLos Angeles, Nov 11 (PTI) Actor-model Kate Upton and Justin Verlander have become proud parents of a baby girl.Upton gave birth to their first child on November 7, the professional baseball pitcher announced on Instagram Sunday.The couple has named the little one Genevieve.”Welcome to the world Genevieve Upton Verlander. You stole my (heart) the first second I met you! 11.7.2018,” Verlander captioned the photo of his fingers interlaced with their baby’s.Upton shared their daughter’s first photo and captioned it: “Genevieve Upton Verlander 11.7.18.”The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model announced her pregnancy in July.The couple recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary. PTI RDSRDSlast_img