Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa

Technology-powered solutions to ensure Healthy Lives and Well-being for all.

About The Award

The Kofi Annan Award has been initiated by the Austrian Federal Chancellery, in collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator, the Austrian Development Agency and the Kofi Annan Foundation. The Award aims to identify and support promising social entrepreneurs with digital or technology powered solutions for people in Africa to help them build the foundations to scale. For the 2021 Kofi Annan Award we are seeking innovative solutions from across the African continent to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 3, Good Health and Well-Being, with a strong focus on achieving high quality universal health coverage.


The world has made incredible progress over the past decades with regard to global health and well-being. Life expectancy has increased dramatically on a global scale. Infant and maternal mortality rates around the world have declined continuously since the 1960s and deaths from malaria have declined over the last 15 years. 21.7 million people living with HIV were already receiving antiretroviral therapy by the end of 2017, contributing to a global reduction of deaths and a better quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Although the global community has made progress, there are still at least 400 million people lacking access to basic health care and approximately 1.6 billion people live in fragile settings. Natural and anthropogenic disasters, lack of hygiene, and malnutrition combined with insufficient basic health services, present a significant risk to the health and well-being of those affected. The incredible progress that has been made in the fight against HIV still leaves more than 15 million people waiting for treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in December 2015 that the global incidence of malaria had finally been slowed, however, malaria and other contagious, preventable diseases, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and even leprosy, are still major obstacles to achieving SDG 3.

What We Offer

The WFP Innovation Accelerator together with the Federal Chancellery of Austria (BKA), the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and the Kofi Annan Foundation (KAF) wish to support innovative solutions that address the urgent healthcare needs of people across Africa. Therefore, our offer is:

  • To select 9 teams that will be invited to participate in a fully virtual WFP Innovation Bootcamp, where they will benefit from the chance to work with technical and industry mentors who will provide guidance to further develop and refine their solutions.
  • Projects that make it to bootcamp have the opportunity to apply to the Austrian Development Agency for 3 x EUR 250.000.
  • The 3 ventures that are each awarded EUR 250.000 will also join the WFP Sprint Programme, a 12-month acceleration programme with access to mentorship, and a global network of partners.
  • The final 9 ventures will be able to tap into and leverage a network of relevant businesses, investors and mentors.

What we are looking for

The 2021 Kofi Annan Award is seeking to support technology-powered solutions and approaches that are helping to achieve high quality universal health coverage in African countries, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

We welcome applications from social entrepreneurs with digital or technology-powered solutions for people in Africa who are addressing one or more of the following challenges:

  • Availability and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines (including production, transport and distribution, as well as financial mechanisms allowing for affordability)
  • Access to quality essential healthcare services (including telemedicine: diagnostics, data exchange between health posts and specialists in hospitals and mHealth (Mobile Health)
  • Availability and access to mental health services (including training of mental health practitioners, tele-health solutions and projects aiming at de-stigmatisation)
  • Better prevention and prophylaxis: early warning, risk reduction, and management of health risks (including disease prevention and prophylaxis and health awareness)
  • Improve financial risk protection for the most vulnerable (including micro-insurance solutions, reduction of out-of pocket expenses, prepayment and pooling of resources for health)
  • Wildcard: high potential disruptive innovations in the digital health space are welcomed to apply.

Eligibility criteria

  • Your company must be a for-profit legal entity and incorporated for at least two years at the time of application.
  • Your solution is anchored in at least one African country.
  • The applicant must have existing contacts / presence in the country of implementation: country office or other permanent presence, subsidiary, long-term operations or partnerships in the country.
  • Your innovation clearly addresses one or more areas of SDG 3 Target Indicator 8.
  • The entity does not fall under any of the points listed in the solemn declaration.
  • Your innovation has more than 1 million people of total addressable market.
  • Your startup pays attention to environmental protection and climate change, gender equality and women empowerment, as well as social inclusion (leave no one behind).
  • Your startup is not required to make a monetary contribution to the proposed project budget.
  • Your innovation should have a strong proof-of-concept with initial traction and a clear path to scale.

Your application will be evaluated in equal weight according to the following criteria:

  • Impact & Scalability
  • Team
  • Innovativeness
  • Traction
  • Business Model

We reserve the right to adjust eligibility criteria based on the changing context as new information becomes available

Application Process

  1. Applications must be submitted in English
  2. To submit an application, please fill in this form by 1 December 2021.
  3. If you know a relevant project for us to consider, please let us know here.
  4. We will review and contact shortlisted applications for a personal interview
  5. 9 ventures will be invited to bootcamp and can apply for 3 x EURO 250.000 funding from ADA.
  6. 3 teams will have the opportunity to be awarded EURO 250.000 each, funding from ADA and will enter into our 12-months sprint program.

NOTE: We value all applications, however, we are only able to contact shortlisted applicants.

Supporting documents

Please be advised that successful applicants that receive an invitation to the Bootcamp will be required to submit the following documents:

  • Signed Company and Bank Details
  • Proof of registration (extract from business register or commercial register,
    copy of business license)
  • Tax registration number, copy of tax registration
  • Articles of incorporation.
  • Proof of creditworthiness (if available)
  • Annual accounts of the last two years (if available)
  • Police records /CVs


December 1, 2021
Organizer World Food Programme
Website Visit website
Targets Africa
Biotechnology and medical research, Healthcare, Healthcare providers and services, HealthTech, Medical equipment and supplies, Sexual and reproductive health and rights
SDG (1)
3. Good Health and Well-being