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This year, the start-up challenge organized by Agence Française de Développement will reward innovation for women in Africa. The contest has now entered the final selection phase.

It’s the home stretch for start-ups participating in the AFD Digital Challenge. Only 15 out of the original 300 applications from around the world have been short-listed for the final choice. Five finalists will win technical and financial assistance ranging from 15,000 to 50,000 euros.

The worldwide start-up contest organized by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) aims to identify, promote and accelerate projects from young innovative companies that will encourage development in Africa. Last year, for example, the contest supported an innovation that makes healthcare access easier, as well as the development of a digital tool for small farmers to help them make decisions.

Pride of place for parity

The third edition of the AFD Digital Challenge will reward five companies using innovative digital technology for the benefit of women in Africa. The goal is to promote women’s economic, social, cultural and political inclusion.

The digital revolution is transforming the African continent. This third edition of the AFD Digital Challenge is committed to making this fantastic technological and economic leap forward benefit everyone.

Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of AFD

The challenge offers not one, but three prizes. The “Digital Africa Initiative” trophy rewards two start-ups in their initial phase (the most crucial for a company developing a prototype or launching to market) with a 15,000-euro prize. The “Digital Africa Success” trophy provides support to two companies in the growth phase (50,000 euros each). The “Special Mention” trophy rewards a start-up for the originality of its approach in the context of including women (20,000 euros).

A jury of experts

How pertinent solutions proposed in favor of women and their potential impact in terms of development will be decisive. The jury in charge of choosing the five start-up winners will be made up of six women who have sound digital technology experience and the African entrepreneurial ecosystem.

They include Ethel D. Cofie, CEO of Edel Technology Consulting and founder of Women in Tech Africa, the largest network of women working in the new technology sector in Africa. There is also Oumy Ndour, a Senegalese journalist and director committed to promoting solidarity among women through creating the Ladies Club Senegal platform in 2016.

"For me, the Africa of the future has no choice but to be feminine." Oumy Ndour, who created a platform to encourage Senegalese women to voice their opinions and freely discuss topics they hesitate to bring up in public. 

Keep an eye out in the coming weeks to find out who the winners are.


Further reading:

[Video] The AFD Workshop Accelerating Innovative Projects

In South Africa, the Path Toward Equality Cuts Through The Community

Lead Campus: Working Today To Train the Leaders of Tomorrow