AFD Digital Challenge 3rd edition: Innovation for Women in Africa [fr]

AFD kicks off the third edition of its Digital Challenge, a competition for startups and digital innovators to promote the economic, social, cultural and political inclusion of women in Africa. Startups from Africa and across the world can apply before November 12th, 2018 on


Tribute to women‘s entrepreneurship

The digital revolution is transforming the African continent, thanks to a new generation of entrepreneurs who have launched profitable businesses that also have a social and environmental impact.
Every year the AFD Digital Challenge identifi¬es, highlights and supports these entrepreneurs in their growth.
This year’s edition “Innovation for Women in Africa” is dedicated to fostering the reduction of gender inequalities across Africa. The competition is open to African startups, as well as entrepreneurs from across the world, who come up with innovative solutions for the inclusion of women in Africa.

According to Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of Agence Française de Développement (AFD)

“The digital revolution is transforming the African continent. For its third edition, the AFD Digital Challenge is embracing this revolution to promote social inclusion. This year, AFD rewards start-ups who actively promote gender equality and women’s condition in Africa. This competition underlines once again our commitment to putting innovation at the service of a world that is 100% inclusive.”

At stake: a tailor-made support

The 5 winning start-ups will benefit from both financial support and mentoring to accelerate their projects and promote their integration into the African digital ecosystem. They will be backed by AFD with an "acceleration pack": technical and personalized financial support ranging from €15,000 to €50,000.

Four criterias

The relevance of the solutions devised for women, their feasibility, sustainability and potential development impacts will be at the heart of the selection process, which will take place in several stages:
-  A review phase of the application files, validating the eligibility of candidates and pre-selecting 30 start-ups on the basis of an analysis of the projects, their innovative nature, their economic model, their impact and the importance of digital technology.
-  An in-depth analysis phase by AFD experts on pre-qualified projects
-  A ¬final selection phase by the jury composed of experts from the tech entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa.


-  Application phase – from September 27th to November 12th 2018
-  Application review phase – from November 13th to November 27th 2018
-  In depth phase – from November 27th to December 14th 2018
-  Final selection phase – from December 14th 2018 to December 21th 2018
-  Awards ceremony – beginning of 2019

AFD Digital Challenge in Figures

-  4 criterias
-  770 participants in 2017
-  Up to €50 000 funding per startup
-  5 winning startups
-  37 countries represented in 2017


In May this year, French President Emmanuel Macron announced EUR 65 million African startups facility managed by the AFD Group as part of the existing Digital Africa Initiative.
The Digital Africa initiative is an open and inclusive innovation approach which aims to support African entrepreneurship, boost digital innovation and support the emergence of entrepreneurs. To implement this approach, Digital Africa will become a label and will launch a digital platform in November 2018. The platform will connect all the actors of the digital innovation ecosystem in Africa and non-African ecosystems, promote African entrepreneurs, encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing, facilitate business and financing opportunities, host events and call for projects and provide online resources for the digital innovation ecosystem.
AFD is France’s inclusive public development bank. It commits fi¬nancing and technical assistance to projects that genuinely improve everyday life, both in developing and emerging countries and in the French overseas territories. Our action is fully in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through its network of 85 agencies, AFD operates in 109 countries, where it is currently -financing, supervising and supporting over 3,500 development projects.

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Dernière modification : 05/10/2020

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