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Milken-Motsepe Prize Awards African Innovators in Off-Grid Energy Solutions $2 Million

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A UK-Malawian venture, Aftrak, has emerged victorious in the Milken-Motsepe Prize in Green Energy, a competition aimed at boosting access to sustainable electricity in Africa.

The $2 million prize program, spearheaded by the Milken Institute and the Motsepe Foundation, awarded Aftrak $1 million for their innovative solar microgrid system.

Aftrak’s winning solution combines portable solar panels with specially designed tractors, empowering rural communities with clean energy and boosting agricultural productivity.

South Africa’s Omnivat secured the second-place prize of $250,000 for its modular power and storage system.

This versatile technology delivers clean water, electricity, and even Wi-Fi with virtual reality capabilities to underserved communities.

The Green Energy Prize is part of the Milken-Motsepe Innovation Prize program, a series of global competitions fostering technological advancements aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The program’s inaugural competition in 2021, the Milken-Motsepe Prize in Agri-Tech, addressed poverty and hunger.

This year’s Green Energy Prize attracted participation from a diverse pool of entrepreneurs across 79 countries.

Over 160 innovators presented their concepts, with 20 semi-finalists receiving $20,000 each to further develop and field-test their ideas.

Finalists faced rigorous evaluation, with their solutions assessed on their ability to generate significant amounts of off-grid electricity using renewable sources.

Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, co-founder of the Motsepe Foundation, commended the participating teams for tackling a critical challenge across Africa.

Building on this success, the 2024 Milken-Motsepe Prize has set its sights on fintech.

Announced at the Milken Institute Global Conference, the upcoming competition will reward businesses that empower small enterprises in developing economies with access to financial resources and services.

With a total prize pool of $2 million and a $1 million grand prize, applications for the Fintech Prize are open until August 6, 2024.

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“We are delighted to partner with ISA to support the development of solar energy in Africa,” said Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50. “This partnership will help to accelerate the deployment of solar energy in Africa and improve the lives of millions of Africans,” he added.

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