#LLABlog – Meet Charlette N’Guessan, the first woman to win the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

Charlette N’Guessan

A Ghanaian technology entrepreneur, Charlette N’Guessan was the adjudged winner of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious 2020 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. This makes the 26-year-old the first woman to win the Africa Prize and the first winner from Ghana.

N’Guessan and her team developed BACE API, a software that uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence to verify identities remotely. The software is mainly made for financial institutions and other industries that use identity verification when providing services. The software does not need any special hardware. It uses a phone or computer’s built-in camera and does not need special hardware. The special thing about this software is that unlike global AI systems the BACE API has been developed specifically to identify Africans.

As the winner of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation N’Guessan received £25,000. The software was developed by N’Guessan and her co-founders in 2018 after they conducted research which showed that banks in Ghana have a significant problem with identity fraud and cybercrime.

BACE API has access to Ghanaian passports and other identity documents to be used during verification. This is due to its partnership with a data controller that deals with certified government-issued identity documents. Two financial institutions in Ghana are already using the software to verify customers’ identities, and the software is being tested on an event platform to confirm attendee registrations.

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation. It was founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK in 2014.


We commend Charlette N’Guessan on this success, and we look forward to seeing her achieve greater things.


This article was originally published on Business Insider Africa.

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