The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has awarded three innovators as part of its third edition of the Transformers Roadshow competition in which applicants are invited to pitch ideas accelerating one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Applicants, participants and the honourable guests were welcomed at the Palais des Congrès in Niamey on the 19th January 2019, by the Prime Minister of the Republic of the Niger, Brigi Rafini, President of the IsDB Group, H.E. Dr Bandar Hajjar, and the Minister of Planning of the Republic of the Niger, Aïchatou Boulama Kané.

Launched in July 2018, Transformers Roadshow is one of the initiatives led by the Transform Fund set up to support the IsDB’s strategic focus on capacity building and human capital development. Previous editions took place in Kazakhstan and Bangladesh, where the Bank has awarded six innovators. 

The competition attracted more than two hundred entrepreneurs, scientists and innovators across Niger. All projects presented today were assessed on their alignment with the SDGs agenda including factors such as innovativeness, impact & outreach, practicality, scalability, sustainability, potential for patenting and commercialisation.

Shortlisted teams presented their ideas to an esteemed judging panel from public and private sectors led by Dr. Hayat Sindi, the IsDB’s Senior Advisor to the President, Science Technology and Innovation.

The winners of the 2019 Niger Transformers Roadshow are:

  • Mahamadou Djibrilla Alio Sanda, Rahamatoulaye Also Sanda – for a project providing a solution to the problems of famine and plastic waste through fermentation and processing of cassava, and its starch. 
  • Abass Soumana, Mahamadou Souleymane, Djibo Almoustapha Boubacar – for an initiative focusing on educating children about the ecological importance of food production, regional food security and strategy, as well as impact of food production on the environment.
  • Koroney Abdoul Salam, Aboubacar Sidikou Lawali, Katia Adamou Oumar - Construction of potatoes plant and seed production units in Niger in order to build a value chain and increase food security in the region.

Commenting on the high number of applications and interest in STI-led projects, President of the IsDB, H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar said: “I am delighted to see so many fantastic innovators in Niger. When we launched the Transform Fund, our dream was to support science, technology and innovation-led solutions designed by local entrepreneurs and innovators who understand their communities. We recognise that Niger needs more than just grant funding, it needs innovative solutions to provide more sustainable and inclusive growth.”

Dr Hayat Sindi, Chief Scientific Advisor to the President, said: “We are overwhelmed by the depth and insight presented today by all of the participants. We are proud to support and empower those who will change the future of Niger through science, technology and innovation. I would like to congratulate all winners, and encourage everyone else who has great ideas supporting sustainable future for all, to apply to our Transform Fund which will be open for applications in April 2019.”

As part of their recognition winners of the third edition of the Transformers Roadshow have been awarded US$3,000, an invitation to attend the 2019 Transformers Summit in Senegal, and access to an online course on Smart Impact Capital at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

The Transformers Roadshow was one of a series of meetings and events during an official tour to the West African region by the IsDB President, H.E. Dr Bandar Hajjar. Over the course of the week, the President visited Senegal, Guinea and Niger, where he announced a number of significant investments and partnerships.