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Aboutwhat is Africa Innovates for the SDGs?

His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Africa Innovates for the SDGs is an award for African social innovators with exceptional ideas and initiatives linked to any of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Co-Chair of the Group of Eminent Advocates for the SDGs and President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, launched the award for a new generation of early-stage social innovators in Africa who are solving pressing problems in the SDG focus areas. 

Open to innovators from any one of Africa’s countries, Africa Innovates for the SDGs recognized and awarded five exceptional early-stage African innovators solving key challenges linked to the Sustainable Development Goals. The winners were awarded a grand prize and had their work showcased at an international level, helping them to expand their impact. Scroll down to learn about the winners and their innovative solutions for the SDGs.

Africa and the SDGs

Africa is a vibrant continent full of people with incredible potential, relentless drive and unwavering optimism about the future. Characterized as the youngest continent in the world, Africa faces numerous challenges, and at the same time offers immense opportunities just waiting to be harnessed.

The United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals lay out a framework that will guide Africa to overcome some of the most critical challenges before us and provide the opportunity to tap into innovative, African-driven solutions to these challenges. But time is of the essence: in order to achieve the goals in Africa by 2030, the time to act is now, and grassroots innovators have a critical role to play. Grassroots innovators have a unique perspective and can spot gaps in SDG focus areas that other actors might miss. This perspective enables them to understand solutions at their core and develop solutions that work in the long term.

Africa Innovates for the SDGs has supported innovative solutions that will make a substantial contribution towards improving livelihoods and accelerating development across various economic sectors. Successful innovations may start off small, but they have the potential to scale to impact tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of beneficiaries!

about the sustainable development goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure a more just and peaceful world.

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The Winnersfrom across Africa

Natal Cares
Nelplast Eco Ghana Ltd

Conrad Tankou is a Cameroonian medical doctor and innovator who runs GICMED, a social enterprise that is working to reduce the high death rates of breast and cervical cancer patients, due to a lack of access to medical screening and limited medical expertise in underserved and remote communities. GICMED provides remote screening  of cancer through the use of a digital microscope for smartphones and as well as a telemedecine platform: this can detect the cancers at an earlier, treatable stages irrespective of where patients live. GICMED aims to decrease the gap in accessing quality healthcare between rich and poor to enable everyone to have access to world class medical care.

Visit to learn more.

Ruth Elineema Lukwaro is the CEO of Gongali Model, a Tanzanian social enterprise that aims to inspire Africans, particularly young professionals and university students, to develop innovative and sustainably successful business ventures and initiatives that empower their communities. Gongali Model introduced the world to Nanofilter, a unique filtering system based in nano-polymer technology. This affordable initiative solves issues of water contamination to bring clean drinking water to communities at a much lower price than bottled water, helping prevent water borne illness.

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Biringwa Makomba runs Valorigo, a biotechnology company in the Democratic Republic of Congo behind the innovation banana fibre bags known as Sacpa. Valorigo tackle the problem of plastic waste with its biodegradable and reusable Sacpa bags. Our packaging model is fully biodegradable and reusable. The bags are made from banana crop waste that is collected for free in the villages. Valorigo’s goal is to fight pollution from plastic bags and reduce poverty by creating thousands of jobs in Africa.

To learn more, visit

Uche Udekwe is the founder of Natal Cares, a social enterprise that aims to reduce maternal and infant mortality by harnessing the power of mobile technology to provide mothers with comprehensive support from pregnancy through baby’s first three years of life. Natal Cares provides lifesaving health information, appointment reminders and medical advice and connects women to a support system of mothers all around the world. It also offers delivery kits with essential supplies for safe childbirth and places a focus on pregnant women and Nursing mothers in IDP Camps and Rural Under-served communities in Nigeria.

To learn more about Uche’s work, visit

Nelson Boateng is an innovator and founder of Nelplast Eco Ghana Ltd., a social enterprise that addresses the issue of plastic waste by creating useful products from  plastic waste that is accumulating in Ghana, overwhleming landfills and polluting waterways and the ocean. Nelplast Eco Ghana transforms plastic waste into biodegradable plastic products, plastic pavement blocks that are used to build roads and plastic bricks for the construction of houses. Nelson’s alternative products combine plastic with sand, resulting in bricks that are up to 800 times stronger than concrete.

Learn more about Nelplast Eco Ghana by visiting

Championsfrom across Africa

Joe Mensah
CEO at Kosmos Energy, Ghana
Kosmos Innovation Centre
Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie
Executive Secretary, ACBF
Dr. Claire Melamed

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Africa Innovates for the SDGs is awarded by the Co-Chair of the Group of Eminent Advocates for the SDGs and President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The award is implemented by the non-profit organization Reach for Change. Please direct any questions related to the competition and application process to


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