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Digital Energy Challenge 2024 Call for Projects targets projects based in Africa ( Financial support of up to €150K): APPLY NOW!

Digital Energy Challenge Overview

The Digital Energy Facility launched the Digital Energy Challenge in 2021 for a four-year term, with an annual call for projects. 

The purpose of the Digital Energy Challenge is to support the development of innovative solutions likely to promote better access to energy, facilitate the integration of renewable energies and improve the performance of energy operators.

The digital revolution is key to tackling energy access issues in developing countries. In Africa alone, 600 million people, 1 out of 2 people in sub-Saharan Africa, do not have access to electricity. Innovative technologies and new business models are making significant progress in energy access with on-grid and off-grid solutions in urban and rural areas.

Contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy, the AFD implemented the Digital Energy Facility, a programme co-financed by the European Union, with the participation of ADEME, to support the digitization and modernization of the energy sector.

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Digital Energy Challenge Key dates

4th March 2024

Launch of the Call for Projects

19th March 2024

Information webinar 
Register for the webinar in English at 2:00pm CET

Register for the webinar in French at 11:00am CET

15th May 2024 – 23h59 CET

Deadline for submission of applications

Autumn 2024

Notification of award winners and bootcamp

Who can apply for the Digital Energy Challenge?

The 2024 Call for Projects targets projects based in Africa and owned by:

Start-ups in the pre-seed phase or with early-stage activities. NGOs can apply under the Start-up category (see more details on the eligibility criteria for Start-ups).

Public utilities(public power utilities and public Independent System Operators, private companies under a public service concession, power pools, regional organisations, energy regulators, rural electrification authorities) in partnership with technology/service providers (see more details on the eligibility criteria for Utilities).


🌍 Eligible countries

Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, 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, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

What activities are included?

Projects must have a core element of digital technology (telecom, computer or cloud-based). They must be innovative, either intrinsically or in relation to the local market or country. Finally, projects must be local with project management activities in the country where the project is based.

For the two categories, Start-ups and Utilities, the project scope must address one of three themes:
Challenge thematics

Benefits for Digital Energy challenge winners

Each year the Challenge will award 2 to 3 utility and technology/service provider partnership projects and 5 to 8 start-up projects. An annual budget of €1.8 M will enable grant-based funding, technical assistance and strategic guidance. 

Challenge winners can benefit from:
  • A financial contribution in the form of a grant for equipment and software purchases, training, recruitment costs for start-ups, and product/service purchase costs linked to technology/service providers for utilities
  • Technical assistance for all utilities and certain start-ups on a case-by-case basis, such as project management support, strategic and technical expertise, and accounting/reporting assistance
  • A bootcamp run by cross-sectorial experts to support project implementation, foster synergies between project winners and share best practices
  • Increased visibility for the project through widespread social media communication campaigns piloted by AFD during the selection phase, award ceremony, bootcamp and for a period of time after these events 



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