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Zim Start-up Scoops US$250k Kofi Annan Award

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Vaxiglobal, a Zimbabwean tech start-up recently scooped the first winners of the Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa which attracted 330 applicants from 38 countries across the continent.

The other two winners of the award which comes with an endowment of 250,000 Euros (US$250,000) for each of the three winners, were from Kenya and Nigeria.

Vaxiglobal was co-founded by Dr Integrity Mchechesi, a medical doctor and public healthcare innovator together with physiotherapist and public health expert Tsitsi Eunice Sifiyali.

The winners were announced Monday in Austria at the Austrian Academy of Sciences by Chancellery Minister Karoline Edtstadler and Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

Vaxiglobal uses contactless biometrics to minimise waste of immunisation resources, improve data quality with open standards and enable the scale-up of immunisation campaigns in African countries.

The company’s solution uses a mobile phone to scan patients’ faces and create digital certificates in a cloud.

Since its inception in 2019, Vaxiglobal has built relationships with the ministries of health of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The prize is named after Kofi Atta Annan (1938-2018), a Ghanaian diplomat, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former United Nations Secretary General.

With its focus on rapid digitalisation on the African continent, the award is aimed at contributing to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal “Health and Wellbeing”.

“It is important that we continue to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Kofi Annan Award is a particularly important initiative for this,” said Austrian Federal Minister Karoline Edtstadler, who is responsible for SDG coordination.

“The 330 applications submitted show that there are numerous innovative, sustainable and creative ideas for implementing the 2030 Agenda. Above all, they also demonstrate the great entrepreneurial potential on the African continent, which must be harnessed.”

ross moyo

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