The AfCFTA Secretariat, the Sankoree Institute of AfroChampions and the AU Open Corridors is calling on African entrepreneurs and innovators with innovative solutions to problems faced by African leaders to apply for the AfCFTA Vision Challenge. This will offers entrepreneurs and innovators the opportunity to secure potential investment from Africa’s leading Development Finance Institutions and Banks —such as AfDB, TDB, Afreximbank, BADEA, AFC, Equity Bank, Ecobank, CIB, to mention a few.
The AfCFTA Vision Challenge is part of the broader Vision Initiative to boost access to funding and technological capacity for startups, SMEs, innovators and entrepreneurs across Africa. It is open to startups as well as social enterprises working on required issue areas: Education & Skills, Agriculture & Food Security, Trade & Continental Economic Integration, Health & Well-being, Natural Capital & Environment, Technology, Good Governance, Inclusion & Equity, and Industrialization & Infrastructure & Energy Systems.
Shortlisted startups will be assisted in navigating the complex process of engaging with big development finance institutions, which are usually not familiar with startups with the end goal of helping them secure investment from major pan-African development finance institution and banks.
“There are many things we must get right to ensure that Africa derives the full range of benefits from the AfCFTA. We want to propel SMEs and startups by opening doors for them to places where they could never previously have entered, for capital but also for capacity building,” Francis Mangeni, Director of trade promotion and programmes at the AfCFTA Secretariat, said in a press statement.
Entrepreneurs and Innovators can therefore submit their startups to the AfCFTA Website Challenge Portal not later than December 22nd, 2020. Once in the portal, they can obtain an AfCFTA Number from the main AfCFTA App, allowing them to participate in the challenge. The AfCFTA Number is a pan-African trusted identity for businesses, while the app simplifies KYC procedures, provides the base for a continental credit referencing system, and allows traders to submit required trade documents electronically, thereby minimizing the costs, delays and inconvenience of paperwork obstructing greater inter-African trade.
Ratified by 54 African nations, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) creates a continent-wide free trade area —a strategic framework for delivering on Africa’s goal for inclusive and sustainable development.
The start of trading under the AfCFTA is set for January 1st, 2021, with an extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government to take place on December 5th, 2020 to lay important foundations for this exceptionally crucial development.
AfCFTA, a cornerstone of Agenda 2063, maximizes Africa’s already considerable advantages: the youngest workforce in the world; abundant natural resources; and exceptional creative, cultural, and intellectual resources. But in order for it to gain rapid traction, the continent’s innovators and entrepreneurs must be equipped with the tools and resources they need to push solutions to the barriers in its way.