First African woman to win the Prize for Engineering Innovation

The field of engineering is considered a male-dominated one as many women shy away from its technicalities but the 21st-century women are gradually making efforts to change such a narrative. Our woman of focus today is a typical example.

The 26-year old Ivorian young lady who is based in Ghana, Charlette N’Guessan just broke the gender ceiling in the field of engineering to emerge as the first-ever woman to win the prestigious Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.

The scheme which was founded by an organization called the Royal Academy of Engineering was established to reward the novelties of young ambitious Africans focusing on developing scalable engineering solutions to local challenges.

N’Guessan developed a software that uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence to verify the identities of people without necessarily having physical contacts with such people.

The software, which is called the BACE API, was developed to help organizations whose functionality depends greatly on identity verification. Her software will significantly reduce verification cost and also help fight identity fraud. The features of this software allows it to be integrated into already existing apps and systems.

The advent of coronavirus added a point to the relevance of the BACE API software; as said earlier, this software works without physical contact, making it a viable alternative to the in-person verification processes such as fingerprints or personal appearances as used by most organizations.

This software was shortlisted with many others for the contest; the first runner up product was the Farmz2U, a digital platform that provides farmers with tailored agricultural data to improve their experience and efficiency. This was developed by Aisha Raheem from Nigeria. It was adjudged the first runner-up.

The second runner up was PapsAI, developed by Dr. William Wasswa from Uganda. This is a low-cost digital microscope that speeds up cervical cancer. David Tusubira from Uganda took third place with a product called Remot. It is a system that manages off-grid power grids by monitoring the condition of solar arrays.

After BACE API was voted as the most promising engineering innovation, N’Guessan and her team were awarded a sum of £25,000 with the remaining three getting £10,000 each.

The software is currently on trial by some organizations awaiting full adoption.

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