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Esther Kimani is the third woman and second Kenyan to win the Africa Prize. (Image source: Royal Academy of Engineering)

Esther Kimani has been named winner of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation for her early crop pest and disease detection device

The winning AI tool was selected by judges due to its ability to swiftly detect and identify agricultural pests and diseases. This innovation offers the chance for smallholder farmers to reduce crop losses by up to 30% while increasing yields by up to 40% – a particularly pertinent issue in Kenya where five million smallholder farmers lost 33% of their crops on average to pests and diseases.

Kimani’s solar-powered tool uses computer vision algorithms and advanced machine learning to detect and identify crop pests, pathogens or diseases, as well as the nature of the infection or infestation. The device then notifies the farmer via SMS. This affordable alternative to traditional detection methods leases for just US$3 per month.

“My parents would lose up to 40% of their crops each farming season, which affected our standard of living,” commented Kimani. “We are empowering smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, to increase their income. We aim to scale to one million farmers in the next five years.”

For her efforts and to help further develop the device, Kimani received KSh8.3mn to further develop the device – the largest amount awarded to a winner yet.

In claiming the prize, Kimani edged ahead of three other finalists who have subsequently each been awarded KSh2.5mn. These included:

• Kevin Maina, Eco Tiles: An environmentally-friendly roofing material made from recycled plastic. Stronger and lighter than clay or concrete tiles, the innovation is a dual solution to plastic pollution and high building costs.
• Rory Assandey, La Ruche Health: An AI chatbot tool available on WhatsApp and mobile apps named ‘Kiko’ to connect communities to vital health information, advice and services with a digital backend solution to streamline documentation, billing, and data sharing for practitioners.
• Martin Tumusiime, Yo-Waste: A location-based mobile application that connects homes and businesses to independent agents for efficient on-demand rubbish collection and disposal to help Uganda combat its mounting waste crisis.

A separate ‘One to Watch’ award was also awarded to Abubakari Zarouk Imoro for his innovation, Myco-Substitutes, for their innovation’s impact on local communities. Imoro received UK£5,000, conferred in 2024 in honour of Martin Bruce, a late Ghanaian alumnus of the Africa Prize.

10th Africa Prize marked in Nairobi

The annual Africa Prize was introduced in order to support innovators in their quest to develop sustainable and scalable solutions to local challenges in the continent.

This year, the Royal Academy of Engineering is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the prize and has marked the milestone by hosting the Africa Prize Alumni Reunion. This brought together 100 innovators from the past decade ahead of the final ceremony. Since its inception, the Africa Prize alumni community has now grown to almost 150 entrepreneurs from 23 countries who have reportedly generated more than 28,000 jobs through their innovations and services.

The 2025 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is now open for entries. The Academy is looking for scalable engineering solutions designed to solve local challenges, and individuals and small teams living and working in sub-Saharan Africa are invited to enter.

The signing ceremony for the new partnership. (Image source: Airtel Africa)

Airtel Africa, a provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, has appointed as its payment processor Network International (Network), a leading enabler of digital commerce

Airtel Africa has a presence in 14 countries on the continent and the new collaboration will help the company drive its continued provision of mobile services. The new partnership will equip the company so that it is able to navigate the dynamic landscape of digital finance, drive innovation and deliver value to its users.

“We are thrilled to partner with Network International to enhance our payment processing capabilities,” remarked Ian Ferrao, Group CEO, Airtel Money. “This collaboration will enable us to deliver a superior customer experience and drive digital financial inclusion across Africa. Network International's proven track record and deep understanding of the African market will allow us to innovate and scale our services more effectively. Together, we will empower our users with seamless and secure payment solutions, fostering economic growth and inclusion in the communities we serve.”

With experience operating in 40 countries in Africa, serving more than 200 financial institutions and facilitating more than 1.6 billion transactions, Network is well positioned to support Airtel Africa in its operations moving forward. It will roll-out its services in key Airtel Africa markets, covering card issuance products and providing technical support. This includes a comprehensive range of services such as transaction processing, card hosting and management, online fraud prevention, internal reconciliation and settlement and online access for Airtel users.

“Our collaboration with Airtel marks a major milestone for our outsourced payments services in Africa,” surmised Reda Helal, group managing director – processing, Africa and co-head group processing at Network International. “It demonstrates our ability to successfully serve Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) via our fully-fledged processing solutions and our continued dedication and commitment to the African region. We are excited to support Airtel’s growth strategy and its business development plans for the entire continent.”

Earlier in the year Airtel Africa unveiled Airtel Africa Telesonic Limited in a bid to transform the wholesale data market. Click here to learn more.

To strengthen workplace safety, the company needed best-in-class Lockout/Tagout procedures, specifically tailored for each machine on-site. (Image source: Brady Corporation)

Read a case study describing how a large beverage processing plant considerably increased maintenance safety with machine-specific Lockout/Tagout procedures, capable of preventing any accident related to moving machine parts and machine energy 

Challenge: Make machine maintenance safer

A large beverage processor was already using safety padlocks and tools to isolate machinery during maintenance interventions. The procedures that drive the optimal use of Lockout/Tagout where not always 100% clear. To strengthen workplace safety, the company needed best-in-class Lockout/Tagout procedures, specifically written for each machine on-site.

In scope of this major workplace safety project were both the production and warehouse area, including a wide range of machines for bottle filling, packaging and lifting.

Solution: For each machine a complete Lockout/Tagout procedure

Brady Corporation sent a specialised Safety Engineer on-site to write best in class, fully illustrated Lockout/Tagout procedures Lockout/Tagout procedures, together with our customer. These procedures can ensure complete machine isolation from all energy sources, and prevent serious maintenance safety risks and accidents.

Every energy control point, be it a push button, wheel valve, butterfly valve or other, was identified and included in the new Lockout/Tagout procedures. Our engineer illustrated all of them in the procedures with pictures taken on-site. This enables employees to easily find every energy control point and lock them in the off-position.


All draft procedures were presented to the management team via Brady’s LINK360 software for swift procedure approval, editing and sharing. Once approved, each illustrated procedure can easily be printed, or shared with the LINK360 app on relevant mobile devices to strengthen procedure compliance.

With every Lockout/Tagout procedure confirmed, Brady offered a complete inventory of Lockout/Tagout tools needed to enable safer machine interventions. Tools already available in the workplace were taken into account. Additional tools needed included more safety padlocks, dedicated devices to lock specific energy control points in the off-position, and a number of accessories to increase Lockout/ Tagout efficiency.

Loto Shadowboard v01

Next, Brady delivered customised shadowboards to promote the use of Lockout/ Tagout in the workplace. All Lockout/Tagout tools were organised on these highly visible boards to facilitate tool distribution and availability. Maintenance specialists can now walk up to the relevant board, check their work permit, take the listed tools and easily return them to the tool shadows when done.

Results: Complete machine isolation during interventions

With best in class Lockout/Tagout procedures in place, written by an experienced Safety Engineer, the large beverage processor reduced safety risks during maintenance to an absolute minimum.

In a series of clear steps, every machine can now be isolated fully from its entire energy supply before maintenance starts. Maintenance specialists can lock the isolated machine state until after their intervention. This prevents machines from being energised too early. While carefully adhering to the steps in the relevant procedure, any maintenance accident caused by moving machine parts can be prevented. Via the LINK360 tool, changes in machinery or energy control points can be addressed swiftly, and updated procedures can easily be communicated with relevant employees.

Draw inspiration from our free guidebook “Enable safer machine interventions”

Lockout/Tagout prevents workplace accidents by completely and temporarily isolating machinery from its energy sources. When implemented well, it stops machine movement and machine energisation while interventions are ongoing. Use this guide for ideas on how to implement or strengthen your Lockout/Tagout programme, or contact us for answers to any questions you may have.

Download the free guidebook from Brady now >>

LoToGuideBookCover EN


Raxio's Tier III facility boosts Mozambique's digital economy, sets new standards in data infrastructure. (Image source: Raxio Group)

Raxio Data Centres, a leader in carrier-neutral data centre operations with an extensive presence in Africa, has officially inaugurated Raxio Mozambique (Raxio MZ1)

As the first Tier III Uptime Certified data centre in Mozambique, Raxio MZ1 is set to be instrumental in driving the nation’s digital economy forward and supporting the Government’s digital transformation goals. This launch is a significant addition to Raxio’s expanding network of data centres across Africa, establishing a pan-African digital infrastructure.

“We are proud to be opening Mozambique’s first Tier III, hyper-scale ready data centre and are excited to be a critical cornerstone in supporting the growth of the country’s evolving digital economy, helping to accelerate the adoption for digital tools and services across industries,” said Robert Mullins, CEO of Raxio Group. “The flagship Raxio MZ1 facility is a hub of connectivity and digital exchange, with eight of the country’s top telecom operators and connectivity providers already signed up. Delivering this exceptional facility is testament of our capabilities and of our commitment to provide our customers in Mozambique with the world-class infrastructure their businesses require.”

Strategically located in Beluluane Industrial Park (MozParks), near Maputo, Raxio MZ1 is designed to cater to both primary and disaster recovery needs. The location offers robust power and connectivity infrastructure, ensuring a stable operating environment. With Maputo’s proximity to three subsea cable landings, including the high-capacity 2Africa cable, the facility provides excellent international connectivity and serves as a critical redundant route for the Southern African region.

“With this launch, Mozambique is finally set to benefit from having its own world-class data centre facility and Raxio’s dedicated operational experience to support the country’s continued development in this digital age,” commented Emidio Amadebai, Raxio’s general manager in Mozambique. “Mozambique’s location positions Raxio MZ1 ideally to accommodate the needs of both local customers and those in the wider Southern African region.”

Raxio MZ1 features advanced cooling technology, high security standards, and AC/DC power compatibility, ensuring an “always-on” uptime environment. The facility offers customers the ability to cross-connect with local and international carriers and other customers in specialised meet-me rooms. By co-locating in Raxio’s facility, customers can benefit from a shared infrastructure model, reducing operational and capital costs while enhancing application performance and flexibility. Combined with investments in terrestrial infrastructure, Raxio Mozambique aims to improve internet traffic flow among content providers, attract regional and international service providers, and enhance the internet experience for users in Mozambique and the surrounding region.

Sustainability is a core principle for Raxio, with over 80% of Mozambique’s electricity sourced from renewables. Raxio MZ1 will utilise a combination of hydro-generated grid power and local solar supply, reflecting Raxio’s commitment to environmentally friendly practices. The facility's energy-efficient design and technologies are tailored to local climatic conditions, achieving exceptional Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) ratios.

Raxio’s expansion across Africa continues with strong momentum. After opening data centres in Uganda and Ethiopia, the Mozambique launch will be followed by new facilities in Côte d’Ivoire and DRC in Q3 2024, and Angola by the end of the year, bringing the total to six operational centres.

“2024 is a huge year for Raxio and in many ways the culmination of multi-year effort. Our unmatched capability is due to a unique combination of secure financing, in-house technical and project delivery expertise, and the ability to pull together contractors, building teams and so much more,” added Robert Mullins. “As we continue to deliver on our promise to build a network of interconnected data centres, running world-class infrastructure, across underserved markets in Africa, we are convinced that the continent has an important role to play in the deployment of global AI capabilities as these are rolled out. We are excited to be a part of this future.”

Greg Pada, vice-president, head of engineering business, AVEVA. (Image source: AVEVA)

Industrial cooperation de-risks design and build processes to unlock value and sustainability gains for capital projects, says Greg Pada, vice-president, head of engineering business, AVEVA

In the face of supply chain issues, geopolitical tensions, and environmental crises, engineers are tasked with designing and building a sustainable future for generations to come.

They must execute capital projects within razor-thin margins, prevent cost overruns, adhere to tight schedules, and navigate intricate workflows. These challenges apply to both brownfield and new projects and increasingly factor in newer challenges, such as lower-carbon processes and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Digital transformation technologies, especially industrial intelligence tools, are revolutionising how these challenges are tackled, unlocking competitive advantages for both business owner-operators and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) companies.

With a single source of truth for all stakeholders, teams can collaborate seamlessly across the industrial lifecycle, ensuring projects are delivered on time and within budget. Engineering operations are optimised at scale, and innovation becomes easier.

Collaboration transforms value

Within an integrated, intelligent ecosystem, internal and external teams can unite to transform value chains into agile, profitable, and sustainable networks.
Across geographies, industrial teams are already collaborating on common problems with colleagues from within their companies and from partner organizations. However, they must frequently contend with data silos and a diverse mix of tools and disciplines.

An open, agnostic digital backbone can help break down these barriers.

Such a connected ecosystem enhances real-time collaboration and builds communities that can access the same intelligence to build solutions for complex, multifaceted problems together.

With increased transparency, the design, build, and handover stages of capital projects become less risky. In turn, businesses can reduce time to market for new products.

Secure data sharing is the game-changer

In a connected industrial ecosystem, engineering data becomes accessible to teams at all levels, regardless of where they are based—often with tools such as the digital twin. While maintaining security and confidentiality requirements, these united workflows foster a flexible, collaborative work culture and help attract new talent.
Business stakeholders likewise gain timely access to the information they need, promoting efficient collaboration.

Several industrial enterprises are realising tangible benefits from just such connected, data-centric approaches to design and build.

Engineering processes become simpler

Teams at Commonwealth Fusion Systems, the US-based energy innovator, work to deliver clean, limitless power to the world. By sharing essential 1D, 2D, and 3D engineering data in the cloud, remote and hybrid teams can design and build simultaneously. As they develop data models, they can add complex details specifying how each component relates to the next. This has improved accuracy, reduced re-work, and slashed project times, while eliminating IT overheads.

Real-time collaboration helps optimise industrial operations. Yinson Production helps the energy services industry improve safety and sustainability with its autonomous floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) units. The maritime contractor is involved across the entire project lifecycle, from engineering and build to operations and decommissioning. As business has expanded, Yinson has required more control of its data and the ability to structure it better. Using a cloud-based data management system together with a digital engineering suite, Yinson teams can now collaborate around real-time data dashboards and view operational assets in context. This speeds up maintenance and execution, all within the same solution. With the software, greenhouse gas emissions are now monitored daily instead of monthly, putting Yinson on track for reductions of 30% by 2030.

Sharing data with external partners improves the entire ecosystem. When enterprise and industrial data is securely shared with external partners, teams can come together to solve operational challenges, generate value, and drive project efficiencies for mutual benefit. Wood, the leading global EPC, has created an innovative Connected Build strategy that revolves around a unified, cloud-based capital project execution suite. Materials and construction management information is now shared among its project and customer teams in real time, improving financial and sustainability outcomes.

Capital projects can easily be executed on time and within budget. That’s the experience of Vista Projects in the field of oil and gas. When it implemented a suite of integrated digital engineering solutions on a large-scale greenfield energy project, the Canadian engineering firm saved 16% of project costs and reduced engineering manhours by 10-15%.

Industrial intelligence transforms capital project deliveries

Connected data solutions offer the competitive advantages needed amid an increasingly complex engineering landscape. They can help avoid the time and budget delays that are common to capital projects while improving project sustainability.

Accenture estimates that 95% of all billion-dollar projects are delivered late or over budget.

EPC 4.0—digital transformation of EPC companies using Industry 4.0 technologies—fosters innovation and empowers teams to deliver projects on time and within budget. Their benefits encompass cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and innovation, all of which are vital for the growth and prosperity of EPCs and owner-operators in today’s competitive market.

As markets continue to grow more challenging, building a collaborative environment to support data-centric engineering and design teams is the way forward for simplified engineering.

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