Africa50 Innovation Challenge

Are you a changemaker looking to expand your connectivity business in Africa?

Significantly increase access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet in under-served areas in Africa.


Calling all developers, ICT experts, engineers and innovators, to join Africa50 in finding sustainable solutions to respond to Africa’s most critical and pressing infrastructure development challenges.

Africa50’s Innovation Challenge provides you with an unparalleled opportunity to get your solution in front of our investment team and project funding partners, as well as gain exposure in Africa’s leading tech events.

  • Area – Last Mile Internet Connectivity
  • The Challenge Proposition – “Significantly increase access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet in under-served areas in Africa”
  • Pilot Country – Rwanda

Africa50 is looking for the most innovative infrastructure and tech solutions which enable people to connect to the internet in their daily lives, through fixed and mobile devices.


Top reasons to apply:

  1. Financial Reward
    Cash prize and/or potential project development funding
  2. Investor Connections
    Access to B2B matching services to connect with new partner
  3. Deal Opportunities
    Integrate Africa50’s pipeline of bankable projects
  4. Exposure and Influence
    Opportunity to pitch your solution at AfricaCom and Transform Africa, the largest tech events in Africa
  5. Technical Support
    Technical support to improve your project’s investment readiness
  6. Pan-African Footprint
    Opportunity to scale your solution to Africa50’s shareholder countries (27 at present)


The call is open for innovators, engineers, entrepreneurs, ICT experts, individuals or organizations worldwide, to submit their workable solutions for implementation.

Innovations that meet the following criteria will be considered:

  • Solutions at pilot and/or post-revenue stage
  • Solutions must meet worldwide environmental, social and governance standards.
  • Combinations of solutions are encouraged, 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.
  • Solutions that have applicability in locations other than Rwanda are allowed. However, for this competition, the solutions will be piloted in Rwanda.

If an entity is considered for potential funding, it should be willing to implement its solution and become a partner in the project that would be piloted in Rwanda.


An Expert Committee comprised of academic, industry, public policy and finance professionals will assess the extent to which participants meet the following technical and business parameters:

  1. Innovative – Solution is able to address the problem with new/original ideas and
  2. Scalable – Solution is able to address the problem for a large number of users at relatively low cost per new user. It can be expanded nationally and internationally.
  3. Affordable – Solution is economically viable such that industry players and consumers can reasonably access the solution and the cost barrier is not high.
  4. Sustainable – 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Modular – 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.

Challenge timeline
  • 14 May 2019: Challenge Launch at Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda
  • 31 December 2019: Application Deadline
  • January-March 2020: Assessments
  • April 2020: Finalists present their solutions at Transform Africa Summit
  • November 2020: Winners presented at AfricaCom 2020


December 31, 2019
Organizer Africa50
Website Visit website
Targets Africa
Clean technology and energy, Connectivity, EdTech, HealthTech, ICT, Information technology, Internet, Internet of things (IoT)