Digital Energy Challenge - Annual Call for Projects

The Digital Energy Challenge for Start-ups rewards every year 5 to 8 start-ups working on innovative digital projects that aim to increase energy access and improve power grid performance in Africa.
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Digital Energy Challenge - 2024

To support energy acces and the digitalization of electrical power systems, Digital Energy, a European Union financed programme managed by Agence française de développement (AFD), launched the Digital Energy Challenge in 2021 with an annual Call for Projects. Details for the 2024 Call for Projects are now on the Digital Energy platform !


Read about the 2023 Digital Energy Challenge and the nine winning projects. 




Who can apply?

The 2024 Call for Projects targets projects based in Africa and owned by:

Eligible countries (2024 edition)

Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, 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, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

What activities are included?

Projects must have a core element of digital technology (telecom, computer or cloud-based). They must be innovative, either intrinsically or in relation to the local market or country. Finally, projects must be local with project management activities in the country where the project is based.

For the two categories, Start-ups and Utilities, the project scope must address one of three themes:

Services GridInnovative Clean Energy SMEsInnovative Digital Solution



Benefits for Challenge winners

Each year the Challenge will award 2 to 3 utility and technology/service provider partnership projects and 5 to 8 start-up projects. An annual budget of €1.8 M will enable grant-based funding, technical assistance and strategic guidance. Challenge winners can benefit from:

  • A financial contribution in the form of a grant for equipment and software purchases, training, recruitment costs for start-ups, and product/service purchase costs linked to technology/service providers for utilities
  • Technical assistance for all utilities and certain start-ups on a case-by-case basis, such as project management support, strategic and technical expertise and accounting/reporting assistance
  • A boot camp run by cross-sectorial experts to support project implementation, foster synergies between project winners and share best practices
  • Increased visibility for the project through widespread social media communication campaigns piloted by AFD during the selection phase, award ceremony, bootcamp and for a period of time after these events 


How to apply?

To bring together a community of actors with a common interest in modernizing the energy sector, a dedicated platform was launched at the end of 2023: the Digital Energy Platform.

For more information on each category and to apply, visit: 


Key dates

For further information or to be added to the Challenge mailing list,our team is available to answer any questions :

Download the Challenge brochure