In Need of Technical & Financial Support as a Female Entrepreneur? Apply for the Innovation for Women in Africa AFD Digital Challenge


The third edition of the AFD Digital Challenge is dedicated to reducing inequalities between men and women on the African continent. The competition is aimed at start-ups which offer innovative services that promote gender equality.

About the Challenge:

Equality between women and men is a central feature of the french Five-Year Plan and constitutes a strategic focus for the AFD. On this basis, AFD is committed to ensuring that 50% of its annual commitments are dedicated to gender equality: Its interventions are structured around five major issues:

  1. Ensuring access to basic services;
  2. Combating violence against women
  3. Guaranteeing access to training and employment opportunities;
  4. Ensuring women’s participation in decision-making and project governance;
  5. Only in the context of CSO projects: Change the representations that underpin gender inequalities.


Eligible projects for the AFD Digital Challenge are those that take into account the specific constraints and issues of women and facilitate the access to:

  • education, vocational training, mentoring and tutoring services.
  • health services (including sexual health and reproduction),
  • employment and professional opportunities, including women’s participation in sectors that traditionally employ men,
  • financial services and other markets 
  • information about rights and access to judicial services
  • mobility and transport

Will also be considered projects that contribute to:

  • the deconstruction of gender stereotypes (eg media)
  • the fight against gender-based violence
  • the development of practices that do not discriminate against women (eg in the professional world, at school, etc.).

The challenge will be open to all entrepreneurs who have developed innovative solutions for Africa on this topic.


Award-winning startups will receive financial and technical support.

The Challenge will reward three categories of projects:

  • AFD Digital Challenge Initiative, which rewards two start-up startups in the seed phase, remarkable by their capacity for innovation. Definition of seed stage in the context of the competition: the start-up is currently developing its prototype or its first product and is entering the commercialization phase.
  • AFD Digital Success Challenge, which rewards two start-ups in the development phase that are remarkable for their ability to grow and expand. Definition of the development phase in the context of the competition: The start-up is positioned within its sector and its market, covers part of its costs through the income generated by its activities and to a well-established clientele.
  • AFD Digital Challenge – Jury Award, which rewards a company that stands out for its original approach to women’s inclusion and gender equality, regardless of its stage of development.

All of the winners of this third edition of the AFD Digital Challenge will benefit from unprecedented visibility and privileged access to a global network of partners, customers, and investors. They integrate a community that brings together the best talents of digital innovation, in Africa and for Africa, sharing experiences and practices.

How to apply:

Click here to get started.

Application Deadline:

12 November 2018 – 13:00 TU


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