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The First Woman to Win Prestigious 2020 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

The BACE Group, co-founded by Charlette N’Guessan, is on a mission to solve a $400 million problem faced by Ghanaian financial institutions to identify customers. Their solution – the BACE API, a software that uses facial recognition to help banks streamline their Know Your Customer (KYC) process. N’Guessan, who is also CEO of the Ghana-based software company, stumbled upon the idea when she relocated from her native Ivory Coast to Ghana to take part in the one-year MEST entrepreneur training program. MEST, which is an Africa-wide technology entrepreneur training program, was founded in Ghana in 2008 and provides funding as well as skills training to Africa’s brightest software developers. With a strong background in electronic and computer science as well as software engineering, the 26-year-old set out to initially create an app before pivoting and launching an Application Program Interface (API) instead that could be integrated into any existing bank app or solution. The BACE API has been specifically developed for Africans by using nothing more than a device’s inbuilt camera and utilizes live images and short videos on those devices. The company has also teamed up with certified government-issued Identity documents that has granted the company access to Ghanaian passports to further expand its reach. N’Guessan’s innovation is currently being utilized by two financial institutions in Ghana.