First Nigerian female for Africa engineering prize emerges

Elizabeth Kperrun, mobile and web applications developer, has been shortlisted for the 2019 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, making her the first Nigerian female to be selected for the prestigious prize.

Kperrun got shortlisted for developing Zenafri, a series of apps that teach toddlers and young children basic numeracy and literacy skills in their native tongue by using local folklore.

Three other Nigerians also made the shortlist of 16 African innovators released by the organiser, The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), UK’s national academy of engineering.

They included Prof. Dele Sanni, who developed 3-D-3-P Industrial Dryer, an industrial food dryer that dries grain for livestock feed faster, and increases the nutritional value of food stocks.

Chukwunonso Arinze developed KAOSHI, an online platform that exchanges currencies peer-to-peer, cutting costs and waiting periods.

Dr Obi Igbokwe developed ‘WellNewMe’, an algorithmic approach to proactively identifying people at risk of contracting non-communicable diseases.

Kperrun, 32, is the founder of Lizzie’s Creations, an outfit that develops mobile and web applications targeted at educating and enlightening women and children.

The Benue State-born entrepreneur is the creator of AfroTalez, an interactive story-telling app that narrates traditional African folk stories to children, to change a particular narrative.

She also developed Teseem, an app that teaches toddlers their first words and numeracy in vernacular languages such as Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and Swahili.

In 2014, she was listed by Forbes in the “10 Emerging Women Entrepreneurs To Watch In Africa.”

The Africa Prize provides a unique package of support, including funding, comprehensive business training, mentoring and access to the Academy’s network of high profile, experienced engineers and business development experts.

After seven months’ mentoring and training, four finalists are selected from the shortlist, with a chance of winning up to £25,000.

Each of the 16 shortlisted engineers will develop skills that last a lifetime, and become part of a growing community of talented African engineers working to accelerate socio-economic development through business.

In 2017, Godwin Benson became the first Nigerian to win the prize by developing Tuteria, an online platform that links students to qualified tutors in their areas at minimal cost.