South Africa’s PeleBox Wins the £25k Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation Award


Neo Hutiri, a 31-year-old South African electrical engineer has won this year’s Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, with his project ‘PeleBox‘. He becomes the first South African to win the prize edging 3 other African innovators to claim the prestigious prize.

At the award ceremony in Kampala, Uganda, the 4 finalists selected from 16 shortlisted innovations pitched before a live audience who voted for the most promising innovation. Neo Huitiri, emerged the winner with his PeleBox, taking home the first prize of £25,000.

PeleBox is a smart locker system. The hardware is a simple wall of lockers controlled by a digital system and designed to dispense medicine to patients with chronic conditions. Healthcare workers stock the lockers prescription refills, log the drugs into the system, and secure the lockers. Pelebox in turn sends the patients a one-time PIN with which they could open their assigned locker and access their medicine.

Image result for Pelebox
Neo Hutiri, with his invention PeleBox.

The project was developed by Huitiri and his team for the South African healthcare system and has since been in use at public healthcare facilities in South Africa. This has helped cut down on long unnecessary queues in hospitals – easing pressure on the healthcare system.

“The public healthcare system is so often under strain, and Pelebox can take a lot of pressure off clinics that fill repeat prescriptions for regular patients. Winning the Africa Prize is a massive achievement for us. We can now ramp up our manufacturing efforts using the prize money. The networks we are part of will also be instrumental for the growth of our business.”

Neo Huitiri

However, PeleBox was not the only who won a prize. The other three finalists emerged as runner up and were all recipients of a £10,000 prize.

These innovators are:

  • Chukwunonso Arinze (Nigeria) of KAOSHI – an online platform that exchanges currencies peer-to-peer instead of through banks. It also helps in cutting costs  and waiting periods of exchanges.
  • Anne Rweyora (Uganda) of Smart Havens Africa – a sustainable smart homes built from appropriate and affordable technologies, designed to make home ownership more accessible to African women.
  • Roy Allela (Kenya) of Sign-IO – a mobile app with smart gloves that track and translate sign language movements into speech and text in real time.
About the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

Launched in 2014, The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK, is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation. It encourages talented sub-Saharan African engineers from all disciplines to develop innovations that address crucial problems in their communities in a new, appropriate way.

Already, the 6th Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is now open for Individuals and small teams living and working in sub-Saharan Africa with an engineering innovation. You can click here get started.

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