UNCDF/IBSA Sierra Leone FinT­ech Challenge 2019-2020 for Financial Inclusion

UNCDF/IBSA Sierra Leone FinT­ech Challenge 2019-2020 for Financial Inclusion

Deadline: May 30, 2019

Applications are open for the UNCDF/IBSA Sierra Leone FinT­ech Challenge 2019-2020. The Bank of Sierra Leone in partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund and IBSA Fund are launching the challenge, under the theme of “Domestic resource mobilization”, to further support the financial inclusion of the middle and low-income population.

The Sierra Leone FinTech Challenge 2019-2020, has the overall goal of improving Sierra Leone’s domestic resource mobilization and the economic well-being of Sierra Leoneans living in rural and underserved areas. It aims to harness the growing digital economy in order to develop and test innovative solutions as a way to leapfrog access to finance, and consequently build out government and private sector platforms to operationalize the benefits of the digital economy.


  • The Bank of Sierra Leone will provide two finalists access to the Regulatory Sandbox – a safe space for unregulated financial sector innovations to grow under the guidance of the Bank of Sierra Leone staff and other specialists.


To be considered for the support, institutions should fulfill the following minimum requirements:

  • Must be operating in Sierra Leone or have a partner who is operating in Sierra Leone. International or regional entities not based in Sierra Leone may apply provided that their work directly benefits an identified Sierra Leonean partner;
  • Must be institutions with experience in providing or supporting some aspect of mobile financial services, including: banks, other financial institutions, mobile network operators and Fintech
  • The product, service or solution must be implemented in Sierra Leone;
  • The product, service or solution can have a financial nature, but a support service to a financial service provider will also be permitted;
  • The product, service or solution must be network operator agnostic;
  • For Sierra Leone-based organizations: The lead applicant must have a registered business in Sierra Leone with at least 15% ownership by a citizen of Sierra Leone; For non-Sierra Leonean Fintechs from innovation hubs, this requirement does not apply at the beginning of the competition;
  • The lead applicant must have a sound track record of performance of at least one year; and
  • The lead applicant must be a for-profit entity or be part of a chain of for-profit institutions;
  • Institutions that are majority owned by government or its institutions, as well as not-for profits will not be eligible
  • Must be compliant with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements of Sierra Leone with respect to the proposed activities or in the process of achieving compliance
  • Must have full documented support from the management and governing body for the proposed project, as evidenced by a letter of support from senior management
  • Must have adequate financial systems in place to manage external support as demonstrated by providing audited or certified financial statements


To apply, please download the Expression of Interest and Lean Canvas Forms.

The EOI should include:

  • Application Cover Sheet (provided)
  • Up to one-page description of the institution (mission, location, current, activities and/or products, clients)
  • Maximum five-page description of proposed use of funds (please do not include a full proposal at this stage of the process)
  • A letter from senior management, preferably the CEO and/or Board Chairman, stating their support for this application and acknowledgement of the commitment to providing the necessary resources for its success.
  • Lean canvas form (Annex 1)
  • Annexes may be included
  • Financial statements are recommended; however they will only be required from short-listed institutions and need not be submitted by institutions at this stage of the process.

For more information, visit Sierra Leone FinT­ech Challenge.