PAUSTI Incubation Centre Unveils Innovations for Africa’s Socio-economic Development

From right: Mr. James Kiburi, Prof. Hellen Mberia, Ms. Hendrina Dorobo and Prof. Gabriel Magoma follow the pitch by Emmanuel Soumo on AgroThinkers; a cost-effective smart device that monitor important farm parameters through a smartphone application

PAUSTI Incubation Centre of Excellence domiciled at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) showcased 12 brilliant innovations from postgraduate students drawn from various African countries, September 27, 2022.

The 12 innovations are geared towards finding solutions in the fields of agriculture, healthcare, engineering, building sciences, renewable energy, biosciences and Information Technology (IT). These innovations seek to accelerate research and development, drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the continent and provide solutions to the problems facing Africa.

A call for application was put out in January 2022, and the Incubation Centre took in 19 brilliant innovators working on solutions across diverse fields. Over the 7 months, their innovation projects have been incubated within the Centre with 12 of them successfully developing viable and working prototypes.

The purpose of showcasing these innovations is to expose and link the innovators to stakeholders that will be key in advancing their growth, either through funding or career opportunities.

African Development Bank, Division Manager, Education and Skills Development, Ms. Hendrina Chalwe Dorobo lauded the innovators for building on their ideas and producing a working prototype ready for commercialisation.

ZeroBox Innovators explain how their innovation works. The ZeroBox is a biosensor-based fresh food storage box that gives real-time information about food shelf-life boosting post-harvest productivity

“I would like to appreciate the students and congratulate them for thinking outside the box to find solutions to the problems facing the continent. The results here today indicate that we have the potential as individuals, institutions and as a continent to find solutions to our own problems,” said Ms. Dorobo.

While acknowledging that the African Development Bank is committed to skill developments as one of their tenets, Ms. Dorobo said strong partnerships such as the one witnessed in running the Incubation Centre, are vital in ensuring relevance and sustainability of the solutions being churned out by researchers and innovators.

“As the African Development Bank, we are committed to ensuring that innovations do not just gather dust but create value and enhance the socio-economic development of the continent,” said the Division Manager.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, said it was gratifying to note that the projects showcased were geared towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 7 aspirations of Africa’s Agenda 2063 for the socio-economic transformation of our continent.

In a speech read by the Principal, Karen Campus, Prof. Hellen Mberia, the Vice Chancellor, further appealed to the government, industry and private sector to actively engage with the innovators and complement their efforts towards bringing solutions to problems facing society.

YFlow Innovators explains how their responsive, user-friendly pay-as-you-go order management web platform for bakeries to seamlessly receive and process their order works.

“It is my hope that the African Union, government and private sector will partner with the PAUSTI Incubation Centre of Excellence to help create an enabling environment where ideas and innovations that count will be mentored to fruition; furthering their growth, whether through funding, career opportunities or connections with other stakeholders,” implored Prof. Ngumi.

Both the African Union, Ag. Director of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr. Hambani Masheleni and Deputy Director In-charge of University Education, Mr. James Kiburi lauded the incubation efforts of the Centre and acknowledged that the youth and innovations are the anchors of socio-economic development of the continent.

Mr. Masheleni said incubation and the growth of innovations play an important role in curbing the youth unemployment rate in Africa of around 12.7 per cent while Mr. Kiburi believes that the youth should be in the forefront in championing industrialisation for development of the continent.

The PAUSTI Incubation Centre of Excellence, financed by the African Development Bank and developed by iHub seeks to accelerate research and development in the application of technology to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the continent.

On his part, the PAUSTI Director, Prof. Gabriel Magoma said the state-of-the-art innovation hub engages academics, students, private sector and researchers to enhance the applied research capability of the institution.

According to the iHub Head of Community and Ecosystem, Ms. Aidah Ng’ang’a, the Centre hosts several activities including designing thinking workshops, innovation challenges, hackathons, entrepreneurship master classes, career fairs, incubation programs, excursions to companies, investor demo days and meet-ups with private sector partners to enhance the Pan-African innovation ecosystem.

PAUSTI Incubation Centre of Excellence unveils innovations for Africa’s socio-economic development

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