William Kamkwamba, inventor, 28

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Kamkwamba is a Malawian innovator, engineer and author. He gained fame in his country when, in 2002, he built a windmill to power a few electrical appliances in his family’s house in Wimbe using blue gum trees, bicycle parts, and materials collected in a local scrapyard. Since then, he has built a solar-powered water pump that supplies the first drinking water in his village and two other windmills (the tallest standing at 39 feet) and is planning two more, including one in Lilongwe, the political capital of Malawi.

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