Africa: Challenge Launched to Link Innovators, SMEs With Funding

25 November 2020

Innovators and SMEs in Africa are set to enjoy a global one-stop technology platform that will link them to possible sponsors for their innovative projects that can boost trade across Africa.

The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat platform dubbed AfCFTA App will issue a mark of identity to every organisation or business interested in benefiting from AfCFTA.

This is aimed at easing ways of doing business and getting partnerships across Africa, export and import goods under the low duty regime and satisfy "know-your-customer" requirements at banks and financial institutions.

The app is expected to go live on January 1, 2021.

This comes ahead of the African Union Heads of State summit slated for December 5, that will make some key decisions on positioning AfCFTA as the next big thing in the global economy.

AfCFTA said the app is the enabler of the broader effort of AfCFTA Vision, an AU initiative in partnership with Sankoree Institute, which is affiliated to AfroChampions.

The two partners intend to propel AfCFTA to success with the backing of Africa's development finance institutions.

"The quick launch of the AfCFTA group of apps and the Vision Challenge to resource our innovators and entrepreneurs with the key instruments to drive trade on the continent shows the unique passion being invested in this enterprise," said Francis Mangeni, Director of Trade Promotion and Programs at AfCFTA Secretariat.

AfCFTA, with its secretariat based in Ghana, is the world's largest trade block with a membership of 54 out of the 55 African Union nations.

The AfCFTA Vision Challenge, enabled by the AfCFTA App, is expected to empower innovators to present their compelling and persuasive ideas for potential investment.

Contestants are expected to register for an AfCFTA number for free via the app and submit entry via the AfCTA secretariat's online portal https://www.afcfta.blog/challenge to take part.

Major African DFIs and other visionary financial institutions such as

Equity Bank, Ecobank, TDB, Africa50, AfDB, AFC, Afreximbank and other Direct Foreign Investment partners have been coopted as the 'institutional jury' for the AfCFTA Vision Challenge.

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