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The AFD Digital Challenge 2018 (Innovation for Women in Africa)

Have you created a company leveraging digital innovation tackling gender inequalities or economic, social, cultural, political inclusion of women in Africa?

Apply to the AFD Digital Challenge 2018, the tech startups challenge for women inclusion, by Agency Français de Dévelopment and Digital Africa.

The third edition of the AFD Digital Challenge, Innovation for Women in Africa is dedicated to reducing inequalities between men and women on the African continent. The competition is aimed at startups which offer innovative services that promote gender equality.

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. The digital transition is an opportunity for the development of services for social inclusion and is an accelerator for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Equality between women and men and the empowerment of women are at the heart of the international agenda for sustainable development.

The Innovation for Women in Africa’s interventions are structured around five major issues:

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


Eligibility Criteria

Any innovative entrepreneurial initiative:

  • – demonstrating the existence of a legal form and having a proven activity on the African continent
  • – owned by women and/or men, and having a positive impact on women’s inclusion and the reduction of gender inequalities
  • – leveraging digital technologies to amplify its impact


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

Eligible projects for the AFD Digital Challenge 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.

Why this competition?

To promote entrepreneurial initiatives managed by women and/or men, tackling the challenges of women’s inclusion and gender inequalities – whether social, economic, cultural or political – and leveraging digital innovation for  their development.


DIGITAL CHALLENGE INITIATIVE – 15 000€ : ​Rewarding two startups going through the induction phase and demonstrating an outstanding ability to innovate.

DIGITAL CHALLENGE SUCCESS – 50 000€ : Rewarding two startups going through the expansion phase and demonstrating an outstanding ability to scale up and develop.

​DIGITAL CHALLENGE – JURY’S AWARD – 20 000€ : Rewarding one startup demonstrating outstanding originality and uniqueness in its approach to the challenge of women inclusion.

Submit your application through the online application form.

Deadline: November 12, 2018.

Read more here.

Terms and conditions available here.

Application Process