Justus Nwaoga is among ten 2013 African innovators who were nominated for developing practical solutions to some of the continent’s most intractable problems. They were chosen from more than 900 applications from 45 countries. The finalists for the Innovation Prize for Africa, IPA, 2013 provided practical examples of Africa’s investment potentials.
Nwaoga was nominated for developing a new way to collect renewable solar energy by using the mimosa pudica weed, an organic African medicinal plant. With this breakthrough, it was possible to construct a functional mimosa solar panel with the Mimosa plant extract. The solar panel is designed in such a way that the electrical potential of the cells can be restored on exposure to direct sun rays, after they have been discharged.
The Innovation Prize for Africa is an award founded by the African Innovation Foundation and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. It mobilises African innovators and entrepreneurs by providing a total of $150 000 to winners who deliver market-oriented solutions for African-led development. The prize encourages private equity investors, government and development leaders to invest across sectors and build a climate that fuels Africa’s economic growth.
Nwaogu is with the Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.