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Africa Digital Competition Top Three Awarded


Dr. Tunde Oyebamiji, COO of Healthbotics and Ore Alemede, CEO of GrowAgric, appear on VOA's Africa 54 program in Washington, Dec. 15, 2022.

The inaugural U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Africa Business Center startup competition wrapped up this week in Washington with the announcement of prizes for the top three finalists.

Nigeria-based medical delivery service Healthbotics was named first followed by Kenya-based agriculture-technology startup GrowAgric in second place and Ghanaian e-commerce company Shopa claiming third in the 2022 Africa Digital Innovation Competition.

The top three finalists were awarded prize packages of $25,000, $20,000 and $15,000 based on their rank on the sidelines of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

Healthbotics, co-founded by Drs. Imodoye Abioro and Tunde Oyebamiji, received additional funding for their healthcare startup.

"Additional investment will actually be used to expand to other [Nigerian] states," Oyebamiji said speaking to VOA.

He said the lack of access to medical supplies remains a "pan-Nigerian issue," and the funding through the competition would aid investment in critical infrastructure such as drone technology.

Healthbotics serves as a single point connection between suppliers and manufacturers of essential medical supplies to health facilities.

GrowAgric co-founder and CEO Ore Alemede says her company, which assists small and medium-scale farmers, wants to change the perception of farming among young Africans while creating a platform that empowers.

"We present ourselves as the face of farming, we present ourselves as ‘cool farmers,’ and use that to encourage young people to also look to that as a future," Alemede said.

She says 65% of GrowAgric farmers are youth in a space that is often stereotypically seen as older and predominately rural.

Frank Nana Addae, co-founder and COO of Shopa, speaks to VOA's Jackson Mvunganyi in Washington, on December 15, 2022.
Frank Nana Addae, co-founder and COO of Shopa, speaks to VOA's Jackson Mvunganyi in Washington, on December 15, 2022.

Shopa is building an integrated market for the informal retail space in Ghana, allowing informal grocers to source inventory and access fast delivery services.

"We realized in as much as the informal retailers contribute hugely on the Ghanaian’s economy, for instance, they still struggle to have access to inventory and other financial services," Shopa co-founder and COO Frank Nana Addae told VOA.

Hailing from 50 countries in Africa, 1,700 candidates applied for the competition with 10 regional finalists chosen and three selected ahead of the announcement of rankings this week.

All top 10 finalists were awarded $10,000 each, and five regional competition winners received an additional $5,000 funded by the United States African Development Foundation.

The finalists included candidates from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Zimbabwe and Cameroon.

The Voice of America was a media partner with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Africa Business Center for the 2022 Africa Digital Innovation Competition.

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