Muzalema Mwanza, the founder of Safe Motherhood Alliance, a Zambia-based social enterprise that develops simple, low-cost disposable baby delivery kits has been announced as the winner of Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0. The announcement was made at Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0, hosted by The Duke of York at St James’s Palace, London, on Thursday 7 March.

The kits developed by Safe Motherhood Alliance contain tools for midwives in Zambia delivering babies in under-resourced clinics or at home births. Each kit includes basic items like a scalpel, sanitary pads, a hygienic sheet and cotton swabs, a list often given to prospective mothers to provide themselves when they arrive at hospitals to give birth. Inspired by Mwanza’s own experience of giving birth to her first child, Safe Motherhood Alliance now produce thousands of kits each month, selling them through twenty clinics directly to prospective mothers and midwives in an effort to reduce infections among newborns.

Chelmis Thiong’o, from Kenya, came second with Sign-IO, a smart-glove that tracks and translates sign language movements into speech in real time. The team behind Sign-IO were also selected as winners of the public vote, the Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0 People’s Choice Award. Third place was presented to Anne Rweyora from Uganda with Smart Havens Africa, a social enterprise which aims to end housing poverty through the development of sustainable, eco-friendly affordable housing for women.

The Duke of York with Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0 entrepreneurs

Pitch@Palace Africa is a collaboration between the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation and Pitch@Palace, an initiative founded by The Duke of York in 2014 as a platform to amplify and accelerate the work of entrepreneurs. The event saw engineering entrepreneurs shortlisted for the 2019 Africa Prize pitch their innovations directly to an influential audience from the worlds of entrepreneurship, technology, media and investment.

Speaking at the event, HRH The Duke of York said “Tonight we heard from entrepreneurs from across Africa, with 17 brilliant businesses coming from six countries. Listening to these entrepreneurs has been inspiring beyond measure, and I would just like to thank them for all they have done.

“This is a very special event in our calendar, and it is a great privilege to work alongside the Royal Academy of Engineering. The Academy have a huge network across Africa and do a great amount to encourage entrepreneurial activity, without whom Pitch@Palace Africa would not be possible. Together we can help to showcase some of the great things going on in sub-Saharan Africa.

“And with International Women’s Day tomorrow, I would just like to point out we had three women on stage tonight as the winners of Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0!”

Africa Prize judge and CEO of AppsTech, Rebecca Enonchong, said: “I am incredibly proud of our Africa Prize entrepreneurs, they always impress us and help show the world what African innovation is really about.”

The winner of Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0 will go on to take part in Pitch@Palace Global 4.0 at St James’s Palace on 11 December 2019. Pitch@Palace Global 4.0 will bring together entrepreneurs from all Pitch@Palace events that take place through the year.

Pitch@Palace was set up by The Duke of York in recognition of the profound role entrepreneurship plays, and will continue to play, in the future of the UK and global economies. The initiative supports entrepreneurs by providing them with the opportunity to access mentors and advisers, distribution systems and supply chains, connections and investment. Since its launch in 2014, Pitch@Palace has helped 802 startup businesses to create 3,669 new jobs and generate over £890 million of new economic activity.

Now celebrating its fifth year, since its inception the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation has supported 72 ambitious and talented engineers from 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa to apply their skills to develop scalable solutions to local challenges.

The entrepreneurs who took part in Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0 are currently part way through an intensive programme of training and mentorship delivered by the Academy. Each year, all shortlisted entrepreneurs receive eight months of bespoke business mentoring, training, and networking opportunities, to enable them to turn their prototypes into profitable businesses with genuine economic and social impact.

In June 2019, the Africa Prize finalists will present their pitches at an event held in Kampala, Uganda, with the winner receiving £25,000 and three runners-up each awarded £10,000.

The Africa Prize shortlisted entrepreneurs who took part in Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0 are:

  • Professor Dele Sanni from Nigeria with Sandel, an industrial food dryer that dries grain for livestock feed faster, and increases the nutritional value of food stocks
  • Muzalema Mwanza from Zambia with Safe Motherhood Alliance, disposable, affordable and comprehensive equipment that helps midwives deliver babies safely
  • Collince Oluoch from Kenya with Chanjoplus, an online platform that tracks immunisation data, helping health workers ensure all children are vaccinated
  • Kenneth Guantai from Kenya with Elo-cart, a battery powered system that recoups energy from motion to self-power hand carts, used by traders, farmers and health workers
  • Dr Lukas du Plessis from South Africa with Protea Machine Tools, a hybrid machine tool that increases productivity, but costs less than traditional machine tools to manufacture
  • James Ochuka from Kenya with JuaKaliSmart, an online platform that connects “JuaKali”, or informal artisans, directly to their customers
  • Chukwunonso Arinze from Nigeria with KAOSHI, an online platform that exchanges currencies peer-to-peer instead of through banks, cutting costs and waiting periods
  • Beth Koigi from Kenya with Majik Water, a technique for harvesting water from the air to provide a new source of affordable, clean drinking water for off-grid communities
  • Neo Hutiri from South Africa with Technovera, secure temperature-controlled lockers that eliminate medication queuing time for patients
  • Chelmis Thiong’o from Kenya with Sign-IO, a smart-glove that tracks and translates sign language movements into speech in real time
  • George Kimani from Kenya with Arinifu Technologies, the system that takes the guess work out of poultry farming, automating heating systems according to animals’ ages
  • Anne Rweyora from Uganda with Smart Havens Africa, a combination of technologies that help women acquire their first homes affordably and sustainably
  • Safiatou Nana from Burkina Faso with SolarKoodo, a solar irrigation system that uniquely caters for semi-arid areas where precision and efficiency are essential
  • Paul Matovu from Uganda with The Vertical Farm, a ‘farm-in-a-box’ for urban areas, using urban waste to grow high yielding plants
  • Dr Obi Igbokwe from Nigeria with WellNewMe, an algorithmic approach to proactively identifying people at risk of contracting non-communicable diseases
  • Elizabeth Kperrun from Nigeria with Zenafri, an app that teaches toddlers basic language and numeracy skills in their native tongue

In addition, Funmi Adewara from Nigeria-based Mobihealth International took part in Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0. Mobihealth International is a healthcare service platform designed to revolutionise access to healthcare services in developing countries.

Notes to editors

  1. Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation. It encourages talented sub-Saharan African engineers, from all disciplines, to develop local solutions to challenges in their communities. The Prize selects innovators from across the continent and provides training and mentoring to help turn engineers with incredible ideas into successful entrepreneurs.

    Launched in 2014, the Prize aims to stimulate, celebrate and reward innovative engineers from across the continent.

    The Africa Prize is generously supported by The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund and the UK Government's Global Challenges Research Fund.

    The judges of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation are:
  • Chair: Malcolm Brinded CBE FREng, President of the Energy Institute and Chair of EngineeringUK
  • Dr Ibilola Amao, Founder and Principal Consultant, Lonadek Consulting
  • Rebecca Enonchong, CEO, AppsTech
  • Marieme Jamme, Founder, SpotOne Global Solutions and iamtheCODE
  • Dr John Lazar CBE FREng, angel investor and technology start-up mentor

More information: The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

  1. Pitch@Palace. The Duke of York founded Pitch@Palace in 2014 to provide a platform to amplify and accelerate the work of Entrepreneurs. Since the initiative was set up, it has helped 802 Entrepreneurs to create 3,669 new jobs and generate over £890 million of new economic activity.

    Pitch@Palace guides, helps and connects Entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses with potential supporters, including CEOs, influencers, angels, mentors and business partners. Pitch@Palace aims to: create introductions to Mentors and Advisers; through its Audiences, provide access to Distribution Systems and Supply Chains; make Connections; and help with Investment.

    For more information, visit
  1. Royal Academy of Engineering

As the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business – our Fellows – to advance and promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of society.

We harness their experience and expertise to provide independent advice to government, to deliver programmes that help exceptional engineering researchers and innovators realise their potential, to engage the public with engineering and to provide leadership for the profession. 

We have three strategic priorities:

  • Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation and businesses
  • Address the engineering skills and diversity challenge
  • Position engineering at the heart of society

We bring together engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics, educators and the public in pursuit of these goals.

Engineering is a global profession, so we work with partners across the world to advance engineering’s contribution to society on an international, as well as a national scale.

For more information please contact: Siobhan Pipa at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0745; email: