International Trade Centre Challenge

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 accesss 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


The Company must be active in Africa and able to demonstrate some traction (e.g. sales, users…)

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.


One winner will get

  • A $5000 cash prize
  • 20 hours of mentoring on a topic of your choice
  • The opportunity to exhibit on the #FastTrackTech booth at VivaTech (booth value of $14000)
  • Linkages with VCs and partners from our network
  • Exhibit on the #FastTrackTech booth at VivaTech

Two runners-up will get

  • 20 hours of mentoring on a topic of your choice
  • Linkages with VCs and partners from our network


April 30, 2021
Program dates Jun 16 - Jun 19, 2021
Organizer Viva Technology
Website Visit website
Targets Africa
Artificial intelligence, Big data, Cloud solutions, Connectivity, EdTech, HealthTech, Information technology, Internet, Internet of things (IoT), Machine learning, Telecom