Africa is a continent of pioneers, which generates abundant initiatives. After the EDF Pulse Awards in France, the United Kingdom and Italy, it was entirely natural to turn our attention to the young entrepreneurs building the Africa of tomorrow.
On 19 December, four of them received prizes at Africa's first EDF Pulse Awards. So without further delay, discover the prizewinners who are shaping the future!
1 target to spotlight and support African innovators who are participating in the economic and energy development of the continent 97 entries focusing on issues of off-grid electricity production, electrical usages and services, and access to water 10 finalists 3 winners and 1 special award from the jury
"Innovation must push our boundaries to anticipate the needs of populations", emphasised Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO and chairman of EDF, before naming the 4 winners. The launch of these awards marks a new stage in our commitment to electrification and off-grid production in Africa: we want to support the initiatives of this African youth, who are building the energy future of their continent.
But let's not keep the suspense going any longer. Here are the winners!
In 3rd place: the EduAir new generation media library
Now you don't need an Internet connection to access millions of items of educational content, videos and even Wikipedia! The EduAir digital box, proposed by Cameroonian Yann Nkengue, is a portable digital library which works offline. Nevertheless, it is still connected: users can communicate with each other using a webcam and microphone. They can also chat or share files. And the cherry on the cake: the EduAir box works 24 hours a day, thanks to solar energy. All of these features help to reduce the digital and energy divide in Africa!
Entrepreneurship is a complex activity, particularly when there are funding or visibility problems. I am proud to be returning to my country with this award, which will motivate our teams.
Yann Nkengne, founder of EduAir
In 2nd place: waste recovery in the spotlight with Lono
"Organic waste is an inexhaustible source of energy which is still underexploited in Africa", explains Louise Bijleveld, co-founder of Lono. This is why this Ivorian start-up has developed a process to transform this waste into biogas, which can then be used as a fuel for cooking, or converted into electricity for off-grid zones.
Comparing our ideas, sharing our methods and pooling our knowledge have allowed each project leader to broaden their field of vision.
Louise Bijleveld, co-founder of Lono
The overall winner: congratulations to Majik Water!
The top place on the podium goes to three entrepreneurs. With their project Majik Water, these Kenyan start-up employees are generalising access to drinking water in arid communities. How? All based on one observation: on Earth, there is 6 times more water in the air than in our rivers. So if you have air, you can have drinking water! This is the grounds for the idea of creating atmospheric water generators, powered by solar panels, which as if by magic (or almost) transform moisture from the air into water.
EDF Pulse Africa gives us the opportunity to go beyond borders and develop our project in French-speaking Africa.
Beth Koigi, co-founder of Majik Water
And not forgetting the winner of the jury's special award: Nanoé
Faced with the rich selection of projects presented, the EDF Pulse Awards Africa jury decided to give an award to a fourth start-up. This time, we are heading to Madagascar to discover the project proposed by Nicolas Saincy! Nanoé offers a new model of electrification: collective solar power systems (nano-networks) will allow the production, storage and distribution of electricity at a local level.
And the prizes?
The winners will receive between 5000 and 15,000 euros. We will also help them to access our innovation ecosystem and French or international financial institutions. After all, as Jean-Bernard Lévy reminds us, "the reward today is not so much about monetary value as it is about offering notoriety, a springboard and encouragement. The winners will now become models for those who will attempt to imitate them". And in conclusion: "I hope that this is just a first step, and that there will be many more!"