Agence Francaise De Developpment (AFD) Digital Energy Challenge 2022 for Startups (up to €150K)

Agence Francaise De Developpment (AFD) Digital Energy Challenge 2022 for Startups (up to €150K)

Deadline: April 30, 2022

Applications are open for the Agence Francaise De Developpment (AFD) Digital Energy Challenge 2022. The Digital Energy Challenge for Start-ups rewards 5 to 8 startups working on innovative digital projects that aim to increase energy access and improve power grid performance in Africa.

The three themes for the 2022 call for projects are:

  • Universal electricity access through mini-grids. Digital innovations in the field of mini-grids to maximize their efficiency and impact: energy management systems for the optimal use of clean and renewable energy, storage systems and algorithms minimizing the use of fossil fuel generators, tools to facilitate interconnections with the main grid and with other mini-grids, systems and algorithms for building-up nanogrids, geospatial data analytics for power demand evaluation and/or credit risk assessment.
  • Efficient grid management. All ancillary services ensuring a proper operation of the power grid, with a focus on: information availability and communication systems, streamlining Business-As-Usual grid operational management practices.
  • Sustainable and cost-effective power systems. Digital-based solutions enabling the development of a greener, more flexible and cost-effective power infrastructure (both generation units and grid): additional renewables capacity, grid stability and flexibility, reduction of losses, increased power availability and service quality.


For every annual Call for Projects, the 5 to 8 winning start-ups will each benefit from:

  • Financial support of up to €150K including: Grant funding to contribute to costs for equipment, software, training and recruitment; Technical assistance (awarded on a case-by-case basis), which could include project management support, strategic and technical expertise, and accounting/reporting assistance.
  • A joint boot camp run by cross-sectorial experts, to support project implementation, provide sectorial insights, foster synergies between project winners and encourage best-practice sharing.
  • Widespread communication campaigns piloted by AFD during the selection phase, award ceremony, bootcamp and for a period of time after these events.


The Call for Projects is open to start-ups and utilities.

The start-up must meet the following criteria:

  • Created less than 10 years ago
  • Be in the pre-seed/early-stage financing phase i.e. less than €1M funding raised
  • Annual turnover of less than €1M
  • Employ between 1 and 99 people full-time.

NGOs can apply under the Startup category if the project meets one of the additional following criteria:

  • The project is set up as a company as a branch of the NGO
  • The project has a dedicated team and business plan, and clearly targets business sustainability/profitability (e.g. plans to spin off as an independent entity).

Finally, the startup’s project must meet one of the three above-mentioned themes and be:

  • Digital i.e. based on a telecom, computer or cloud-based technology
  • Innovative, either intrinsically or compared to the local market
  • Local i.e. headquartered or with project management activities in the country of the project

Eligible African Countries

Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo Democratic Republic, Congo Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe


  • Download the Start-up Application Pack (email address required)
  • Watch the recording of the webinar in English here or in French here
  • Complete the application form and prepare the required documents

Click here to apply

For more information, visit Digital Energy Challenge.