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AstraZeneca partners with Royal Academy of Engineering to drive healthcare innovation in Africa

AstraZeneca and the Royal Academy of Engineering today(6 Oct) announced a partnership to help drive the development of health tech solutions in Africa.

The joint venture aims to establish connections between African healthcare innovators and AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst Network, the pharma giant’s new platform with more than 20 global health innovation hubs.

In 2014 the Royal Academy of Engineering founded The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, an annual award that supports innovators across sub-Saharan Africa. Following an eight-month training and mentoring period, the winner receives a prize of £25,000, while three runners-up receive £10,000 each.

As part of the new collaboration, AstraZeneca will offer training support for Africa Prize entrepreneurs, giving them access to tailored expertise and experience to help them develop their projects.

AstraZeneca will also take part in a webinar series for the Africa Prize alumni network and current cohort, sharing knowledge and insights on health tech and other subjects.


By connecting Africa Prize entrepreneurs to the A.Catalyst Network, AstraZeneca supply chain and wider ecosystem (including investors), the partnership hopes to help nurture local talent and strengthen healthcare innovation in Africa.


AstraZeneca recently ran the first of two virtual events in collaboration with startup event organisers Slush, exploring how innovation can help rebuild healthcare, improve patient outcomes and address unmet needs.

The second online event is due to take place on 21 October to explore the practicalities and importance of forging non-traditional partnerships to bolster innovation. 


Aleksandr Bedenkov, VP, medical international at AstraZeneca said: “We want to offer entrepreneurs in emerging markets like Africa the same kind of platform and opportunities that their counterparts in other countries would benefit from. A.Catalyst Network offers exciting opportunities for health tech entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate with a truly global network of expertise and experience, helping to accelerate innovation and ensure that more patients can get access to the latest health tech solutions.”

Barbara Nel, country president, African cluster at AstraZeneca, said: “We recognise that breakthrough science and healthcare don’t happen in isolation; they are the result of collaboration and partnerships to strengthen healthcare innovation and creativity. We are looking forward to supporting our Africa Prize entrepreneurs in developing their innovative projects and working together to seek answers to our health challenges for the benefit of all patients in Africa.”

Ana Avaliani, director of enterprise and sustainable development at Royal Academy of Engineering said: “We believe that while one innovator can change a community, a network can transform a continent, and the Africa Prize network truly represents the brightest minds tackling the greatest challenges. We are looking forward to working with AstraZeneca to amplify the impact of our innovators in harnessing the power of engineering and building a sustainable society and inclusive economy that works for everyone.”