With global population expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050 and more than 900 million people living in hunger, the demand for nutritious food is rapidly increasing.

Acknowledging this need and the impact of hunger in Africa, the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) has named the AgriProtein team as its 2013 winner.

The team of researchers and entrepreneurs will receive US$100,000 for its innovative approach to nutrient recycling – a method that uses waste and fly larvae to produce natural animal feed.

The AgriProtein solution collects biodegradable waste, feeds it to flies that in turn produce larvae that are ground into protein to provide a more ecologically friendly, naturally occurring type of animal feed. This approach improves the nutritional value of meat and lowers the cost of animal feed for African processors and farmers.

Selected from more than 900 applications from 45 countries, the AgriProtein team was recognized at the 2013 Innovation Prize for Africa Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner in Cape Town, South Africa.

“The Innovation Prize for Africa winners showcase African solutions to African challenges,” said Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, co-founder of the African Innovation Foundation and the IPA. “It is time for private sector leaders, donors and governments to work together to invest in practical solutions that will sustain Africa’s economic growth.”

The IPA 2013 Gala also recognized two runners up for their contributions to African innovation. In the business potential category, Hassine Labaied and Anis Aouini from Saphon Energy received US$25,000 for creating a bladeless wind convertor. In the social impact category, Sanoussi Diakite received US$25,000 for developing a thermal powered machine that husks 5 kilograms of fonia – a West African cereal – in just 8 minutes.

Winners were selected by a skilled panel of jurors based on the marketability, originality, scalability, social impact and business potential of their respective innovations. They are provided with unrestricted funds in recognition of their achievements and are free to use the Prize in the manner they deem most appropriate.

“We are honoured by this remarkable recognition,” said Jason Drew a member of the AgriProtein team. “We are passionate about expanding our business to recycle more waste nutrients and supply a natural protein to feed farm animals – helping sustainably feed our continent – this is an African contribution to sustainable agriculture for our planet.”

Founded by the African Innovation Foundation and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the IPA is focused on building Africa’s capacity by investing in local entrepreneurship. The Prize mobilizes leaders from all sectors – private sector, donors and government – to promote and invest in African development through innovation.

“The AgriProtein team’s innovation is just one example of the game-changing African ideas that will continue to harness our natural resources profitably and sustainably,” said Dr.Francois Bonnici, Director Bertha Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. “The IPA invests in Africa’s greatest resource – its human capital.”

The call for applications for IPA 2014 will be announced in July 2013.