Partnership with Royal Academy of Engineering to bolster support for African health tech entrepreneurs


Barbara Nel, Country President, African Cluster, AstraZeneca


Alex Bednenkov, VP International Medical and Global Health Innovation Hubs Network, AstraZeneca

Joint venture aims to strengthen healthcare innovation, nurture local talent, and boost economic progress across Africa

Here, Alex Bedenkov and Barbara Nel share their thoughts on our new partnership with Royal Academy of Engineering.

On 6 October, we were delighted to announce a new partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering (the Academy) to establish connections between African healthcare innovators and our A.Catalyst Network of more than 20 global health innovation hubs. This joint venture aims to drive the development of engineering solutions that have the potential to address local challenges with a focus on health tech.

As part of its commitment to building international partnerships and solving global challenges, the Academy founded The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation in 2014. This annual award grants crucial commercialisation support to ambitious innovators across sub-Saharan Africa, and over 100 innovators are already part of the Africa Prize alumni network.

We will support the programme as a Community Partner, connecting Africa Prize entrepreneurs to our A.Catalyst Network hubs, as well as to our supply chain and wider ecosystem (including investors).

By working together, we hope to further strengthen the work of both organisations in nurturing local talent and bolstering healthcare innovation and creativity on the African continent.

Creating new opportunities

At AstraZeneca, we have long recognised that breakthrough science and healthcare don't happen in isolation; they are the result of collaboration and partnerships that strengthen healthcare innovation and creativity. Our 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.

Our new partnership with the Academy is integral to our unwavering commitment to improving health access and creating sustainable impact in Africa. We want to ensure that entrepreneurs in emerging markets like Africa are offered the same kind of platform and opportunities that their counterparts in other countries would benefit from.

Sharing knowledge and experience

As part of the collaboration, we will join the Africa Prize’s network of expert mentors, offering training support for Africa Prize innovators, giving them access to tailored expertise and experience to help them develop their projects. We 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.

Our partnerships are crucial to delivering the breadth and depth of support we can offer, which in turn allows the programme to accelerate African entrepreneurial capacity, producing scalable, local solutions to global challenges. 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.’

Ana Avaliani Director of Enterprise and Sustainable Development, Royal Academy of Engineering

We are looking forward to supporting our Africa Prize entrepreneurs in developing their innovative projects and working together to seek answers to health challenges for the benefit of all patients in Africa.

Going forward, our partnership with the Academy will continue to collaboratively explore further opportunities to strengthen healthcare systems within the region, and beyond.

Please visit the A.Catalyst Network web page for further updates and more information.


  • Sustainability
  • Partnering
  • STEM

Veeva ID: Z2-2482
Date of preparation: January 2022