VivaTech x #FastTrackTech Challenge on Connectivity

Innovative Solutions for Affordable and Reliable Internet in Africa

Innovative Solutions for Affordable and Reliable Internet in Africa

The ITC #FastTrackTech challenge is aimed at start-ups tackling the issue of affordable and reliable internet connectivity in Africa with innovative and resilient tech solutions.

According to the International Telecommunications Union, 2019 marked the first full year when more than half of the world, or 3.9 billion people began to participate in the global digital economy by logging onto the internet. The challenge now is to connect the other half. One of the main barriers to connectivity is affordability.

The ITC #FastTrackTech challenge is focusing on Africa, which has the “‘last billion worldwide yet to be properly connected to the internet” according to the Financial Times. However, the number of people connected across the continent is expected to double by 2025, hence a high growth potential. We are looking for start-ups providing innovative solutions to improve the access to affordable connectivity while adding value in Africa.

What inspired us? (and could inspire you) Check here

Context / Need:

Despite a growing broadband coverage across the continent, the actual access to connectivity remains hindered by costs. Affordability in accessing internet services is the biggest barrier with at least 1.3 billion people living in countries where entry level mobile data plans (of 1GB per month) are expensive.

Expected Solutions, can vary from but are not limited to:

– Startups with wifi extenders & repeaters in rural/remote areas

– Infrastructure, ex: solutions minimising backhaul costs/ celle sites powered by renewble energy sources, etc

– RegTech start-ups working on innovative policy/ Public-private partnerships

– Wifi distribution start-ups with an added value (leveraging data/ advertisement, etc)

– Affordable smartphones with data access

Selection Criteria :

– Formally registered African digital start-ups, revenues a plus, with an innovative solution improving the access to affordable connectivity

– Focus on the African continent

– Track record in working on making the continent’s internet access more affordable

– Viability and scalability of the solution

– Applications from the following countries a plus: ECOWAS countries, and Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda


April 30, 2021
Program dates Apr 13 - Apr 30, 2021
Organizer International Trade Centre
Website Visit website
Targets Africa
Artificial intelligence, Big data, Cloud solutions, Connectivity, EdTech, HealthTech, Information technology, Internet, Internet of things (IoT), Machine learning, Online analytics, Telecom


  • Cathy Sall
    Cathy Sall
    Associate Programme Officer
    Map pin
    Geneva, Switzerland