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AFD Digital Challenge, the competition for innovation in Africa
The AFD Digital Challenge organized every year by AFD identifies and promotes innovative projects submitted by African start-ups. These solutions contribute to Africa’s development and to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals on the continent.

Africa is getting connected more every day thanks to the development of new technologies. The continent is also a land of digital innovations whose potential for transformation must be promoted. This approach is a key objective of the AFD Digital Challenge competition, which aims to identify and support the most talented digital entrepreneurs in Africa. Today, certain start-ups are also transforming their territory socially.

For example, Gifted Mom, a former competition winner, addresses the problem of medical deserts in West Africa by providing prenatal care for 5,000 women via an application available on their smartphone. Another example is Etudesk, which offers online learning content and contributes to the dissemination of training in Côte d’Ivoire.


AFD Digital Challenge is an annual competition open to digital start-ups that devise and implement innovative solutions for Africa’s development.

Every year, a theme related to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is identified and proposed to candidates. Hundreds of start-ups submit their projects, which promote digital technologies in education, training, health, transport and sustainable cities, rural transformation, the environment and the climate.

The competition identifies and supports the top ten talents for digital innovation in Africa. These winners benefit from financial support of up to €20,000 to realize their project and leverage its social and environmental impact. They also benefit from personalized professional and strategic support for a year. The high profile of the AFD Digital Challenge gives greater visibility to the winners and helps them make a name for themselves in Africa and internationally.   


Between 2016 and 2019, the first three editions of the competition received over 2,000 applications from 45 African countries. Over this period, AFD gave awards to 25 African start-ups operating in areas as diverse as tackling gender inequalities through digital technologies, e-health, fintechs, e-learning and sustainable cities. This success has prompted the renewal of the project for three years, from 2019 to 2021.

Project start date
3 ans
Duration of funding
Financing tool
1 500 000
Financing amount
African start-ups