Ghanaian innovator’s emergency app shortlisted for prestigious Africa Prize
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
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, and his team were 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.