BACE Group, an AI startup from Ghana has emerged winners of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious 2020 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
This makes Ghanaian technology entrepreneur and co-founder of BACE Group Charlette N’Guessan the first-ever woman to win the Africa Prize, as well as the first Ghanaian to do so.
26-year-old Charlette N’Guessan and her team developed BACE API, a software that uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence to verify identities remotely. The software can be integrated into apps and systems and is aimed at financial institutions, transport and other industries that rely on identity verification when providing services.
While facial recognition software isn’t new, BACE API specifically uses live images or short videos taken on phone cameras to detect whether the image is of a real person, or a photo of an existing image.
We are very proud to have Charlette N’Guessan and her team win this award. It is essential to have technologies like facial recognition based on African communities, and we are confident their innovative technology will have far-reaching benefits for the continent.Rebecca Enonchong, Africa Prize judge and Cameroonian entrepreneur
N’Guessan wins the first prize of £25,000 (192,000 GHS). At the virtual awards ceremony held on 3 September 2020, four finalists delivered presentations, before Africa Prize judges and a live audience voted for the most promising engineering innovation.
Being part of the Africa Prize has given us such confidence. We focus on Africa because we want to make sure BACE API is used by our people and works for them. We are so grateful to the Academy, and cannot wait to take our innovation to new heights.Charlette N’Guessan, Co-founder – BACE Group
The three runners up, who each received £10,000, are:
- Farmz2U, Aisha Raheem from Nigeria – a digital platform that provides farmers with tailored agricultural data to improve their experience and efficiency.
- PapsAI, Dr William Wasswa from Uganda – a low-cost digital microscope that speeds up cervical cancer screening diagnosis, and systems to improve patient record management.
- Remot, David Tusubira from Uganda – a system that manages off-grid power grids by monitoring the condition of solar arrays.
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