Africa50, an infrastructure investment platform, has launched the Africa50 Innovation Challenge, which seeks to bring more innovators together to help expand access to affordable internet across the African continent.
The organization also seeks to bring reliable high-speed internet to under-served locations in Africa.
Through the Africa50 Innovation Challenge, which was launched last month in Rwanda at the Transform Africa Summit, Africa50 is looking for innovative tech solutions and infrastructure that will connect people to the internet daily.
Deadline for the applications is scheduled for Sunday, September 8, 2019. Selected applicants will present their project solutions at AfricaCom in Cape Town from 12 to 14 November 2019.
The winners will be announced at the Transform Africa Summit in 2020.

Criteria for the Africa50 Innovation Challenge application

These are the things that will be checked when you apply for the Africa50 Innovation Challenge.

  • Solutions must be at a pilot and or post-revenue stage.
  • Entries must meet worldwide environmental, social and governance standards.
  • Entries that include combinations of solutions, including technological and deployment models particularly those that work systemically and unlock a number of barriers to the challenges of last mile connectivity.
  • Solutions may include physical infrastructure such as solar-powered mobile masts and platforms, TV white-space technology, drones, and local micro-nets, as well as innovative rural network deployment models.
  • Novel ways of using existing technology and infrastructure, software or social engagement.
  • Solutions to related issues such as energy access, supporting uptake and device affordability and usability are also encouraged.

The Africa50 Innovation Challenge has a committee to assess the applicants’ proposals, The committee includes academic, industry, public policy, and finance professionals who will assess the extent to which participants meet the following technical and business criteria:

  • Innovative: The solution is able to address the problem with new or original ideas and methods
  • Scalable: The solution is able to address the problem for a large number of users at a relatively low cost per new user, and it can be expanded nationally and internationally.
  • Affordable: The solution is economically viable such that industry players and consumers can reasonably access the solution and the cost barrier is not high
  • Sustainable: The solution is not only economically viable but also creates shared value for local communities and resolves or at least prevents further disruption of the environment
  • Ready to be deployed: The solution will be ready to be deployed throughout Rwanda within 12 months, meaning that field trials and relevant approvals have been gained, or can be obtained within the timescale.
  • Modular: The solution is built in such a way that its constituent parts can function on their own or be assembled in different ways in order to meet diverse user needs. It can be plugged into various stages of the internet-connectivity value chain.



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