Call for Entries in the AFS Digital Energy Challenge For African Startups (€70,000 PRIZE)

The Digital Energy Facility has launched the Digital Energy Challenge in 2021, which will run for a period of four years and includes an annual call for projects. The main objective of this Challenge is to provide support for the development of innovative solutions that can enhance access to energy, facilitate the integration of renewable energies, and improve the performance of energy operators.

For the 2024 Call for Digital Energy Challenge  Projects, the focus is on projects based in Africa and owned by two specific categories:

1. Start-ups in the pre-seed phase or with early-stage activities. NGOs are also eligible to apply under the Start-up category, and you can find more details regarding the eligibility criteria for Start-ups.

2. Public utilities, including public power utilities and public Independent System Operators, as well as private companies operating under a public service concession, power pools, regional organizations, energy regulators, and rural electrification authorities. These entities are required to form partnerships with technology/service providers, and you can find more details on the eligibility criteria for Utilities.

Eligible Countries: Digital Energy Challenge

The eligible countries for the 2024 Call for Projects include Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo Democratic Republic, Congo Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Rewards for winners of the Digital Energy Challenge competition

  • Every year, the competition will recognize 2 to 3 collaboration projects between utility companies and technology/service providers, as well as 5 to 8 start-up projects.
  • With an annual budget of €1.8 million, winners will receive grant funding,
  • technical support, and
  • strategic advice.

Digital Energy Challenge winners can enjoy several benefits.

  • Firstly, they will receive a financial contribution in the form of a grant. This grant can be used for various purposes such as purchasing equipment and software, covering training expenses, recruitment costs for start-ups, and product/service purchase costs related to technology/service providers for utilities.
  • Secondly, winners will receive technical assistance tailored to their specific needs. This assistance includes project management support, strategic and technical expertise, and accounting/reporting assistance. This support will be provided to all utilities and selected start-ups on a case-by-case basis.
  • Additionally, winners will have the opportunity to participate in a bootcamp organized by cross-sectorial experts. This bootcamp aims to support the implementation of the projects, foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among the winners, and promote the adoption of best practices.
  • Furthermore, the selected projects will benefit from increased visibility through social media communication campaigns. These campaigns will be conducted by AFD during the selection phase, award ceremony, bootcamp, and for a certain period of time after these events. This will help showcase the projects to a wider audience and create awareness about their achievements.

Timeline: Digital Energy Challenge

  • In terms of timeline, the Call for Projects will be launched on 4th March 2024.
  • An information webinar will be held on 19th March 2024 to provide further details.
  • The deadline for submission of applications is 15th May 2024, until 23h59 CET.
  • The notification of award winners and the bootcamp will take place in Autumn 2024.

Application for Digital Energy Challenge

For more information about the French Agency for Development (AFD) Digital Energy Challenge, please visit the official webpage.
Deadline: 15th May 2024

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