Call For Applications: Digital Energy Challenge 2024 For Startups in Africans

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 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

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

  • Universal electricity access and 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; software and hardware technologies for efficient integration of productive use assets; 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 nano grids; geospatial data analytics for power demand evaluation and/or credit risk assessment.
  • Efficient grid management: Digital services and products 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 of the power system; increased power availability and service quality.
  • Resilience and decarbonization of power systems: Digital-based solutions enabling the development of a greener and more resilient power infrastructure (encompassing generation systems as well as the grid): additional renewable capacity; grid stability and flexibility; energy savings at the end-user level (Commercial & Industrial as well as households).


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.
  • Public utilities (public power utilities and public Independent System Operators, private companies under a public service concession, power pools, regional organizations, energy regulators, and rural electrification authorities) in partnership with technology/service providers.

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


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 boot camp 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, boot camp, and for a period of time after these events.

Deadline: May 15, 2024

Click HERE to Apply

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