Grants and Funding

Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa 2021

Deadline: 1-Dec-21

Nominations are now open for the Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa 2021 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, they 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.

Kofi Annan Award for Innovation
Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa 2021 3

The largest burden of this situation is carried by people in Africa. Large populations continue without access to basic health care. According to the WHO, Africa carries 25 percent of the world’s disease burden, but its share of global health expenditures is less than 1 percent, meaning few countries are spending the US $34 to $40 a year per person that the WHO considers the minimum for basic health care.

The future holds new challenges: Noncommunicable diseases like diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure are projected to overtake communicable and nutritional diseases as the most common causes of death in Africa by 2030.

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.

What the Kofi Annan Award Offers?

  • 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, their 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

Eligibility Criteria

  • 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.
  • They 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.
  • 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.


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