The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has announced the Regional Challenge “Digital Innovations for Acceleration of Sustainable Development Goals” to identify inclusive innovations with high impact, offering a real opportunity to accelerate the 2030 Agenda for the sustainable development in favor of the populations of the following 10 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.
In order to provide a better contribution to the achievement of the SDGs by impacting the most vulnerable populations, UNCDF is organizing a regional challenge “Digital innovations for the acceleration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. This challenge revolves around three pillars of intervention of the UNCDF digital strategy which aspires to “Do not let nobody aside in the digital age”.
- PILLAR 1: Empowering Customers. This is about building the capacities of target populations (vulnerable people, MSMEs, farmers, migrants, internally displaced people, women and young people in rural areas) for the appropriation and use of technologies, most promising financial and non-financial products, market models and solutions for meet their needs. In this pillar, the UNCDF team is open to the following proposals:
- Digital financial services related to payments, savings, credit, transfer money, health insurance, insurance solutions (individual or group / entity moral), to the financing of MSMEs (working capital, investments);
- Flexible digital savings and loan products designed to help parents manage their school expenses;
- Savings, credit and climate insurance products to help poor households to mitigate the risks of disasters linked to climate change;
- Innovative solutions for digital literacy and mass financial education;
- Innovative solutions for the development of digital skills, educationspecialized (online courses, mentoring, tutoring), job training, training entrepreneurial;
- Innovative market platform solutions, networking (employment, MSMEs, agriculture), e-commerce.
- PILLAR 2: Digital Infrastructure. In this pillar, the UNCDF team is open to proposals from potential candidates that allow the target populations (people vulnerable, MSMEs, farmers, migrants, internally displaced persons, women and young people in rural areas) to access digital payments and infrastructure digital at an affordable cost. In this pillar, the UNCDF team is open to proposals following:
- Innovative solutions for popularizing access to internet connectivity;
- Innovative affordable touch phone acquisition solutions;
- Innovative solutions for access to shared and interoperable digital infrastructures;
- Innovative solutions for deploying a network of agents, banking correspondents in rural, unserved areas.
- PILLAR 3: Inclusive digital innovations. In this pillar, the UNCDF team is open to the proposals of potential candidates who allow the target populations (people vulnerable, MSMEs, farmers, migrants, internally displaced persons, women and young people in rural areas) to help local entrepreneurs and MSMEs implementplace inclusive services for the benefit of the local digital economy.
- Services / solutions / platforms contributing to the digitization of social protection (payment and information) and alternative payment systems (Pay -as – You – Go) for access to basic services (education, energy, health, water, etc.).
- Services / solutions / platforms contributing to food security, the protection of environment, resilience to climate change, productive use of renewable energies.
- Innovative digital solutions contributing to agricultural productivity and facilitating accessmarkets, access to information (prices, agricultural routes, forecasts weather, etc.), access to equipment (irrigation, storage, transport, etc.) and all other solutions that can improve agricultural productivity, particularly in areas rural.
- Services / solutions / platforms contributing to promote the professionalization of MSME, access to finance and the transition to the formal economy (development of skills, digital tools, crowdfunding, investment capital).
UNCDF contributions can range from 50,000 USD to 150,000 USD depending on the level of development of the solution.
Projects should have a duration of 6-18 months maximum. The activities should end at the latest at the end of the 18-month period.
UNCDF relies on three funding models:
- Inclusive digital economies, which connect people, households and small businesses with financial ecosystems that catalyze participation in the local economy and provide tools to overcome poverty and manage their financial lives;
- The financing of local development, which allows municipalities to boost local economic expansion and sustainable development through fiscal decentralization, municipal financing innovator and structured financing of projects; and
- Investment finance, which provides catalytic financial structuring, risk reduction and the deployment of investments to promote the impact of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the resource mobilization at the national level.
- The application must be submitted by a legal entity or by a partnership of legal entities. In the case of a partnership, the leader of the partnership will be responsible for the conduct of the project from the beginning to the end. It is up to the leader to guarantee the commitment of its various partnersto guarantee the sustainability of the project until its end.
- The tenderer / leader of the partnership must be a registered entity for at least one year.
- The tenderer / leader of the partnership must be a registered entity with at least a year of activity, and must have statutory accounts and certified financial statements for at least one year of activity.
- The applicant / lead applicant must be a formally registered entity in one of the countries following: Benin, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Cameroon, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal.
- The solution proposed by the candidate / consortium must be in one of these three stages of development:
- Recent launch: the product / service or MVP (Minimum Viable Product) has been launched on the market for less than 6 months
- Already on the market for more than 6 months, the product / service has been the subject of several iterations
- The product has already been on the market for 1-2 years.
- The candidate who proposes a solution which is in the final phase of testing, the product / service is ready to be launched in the next 3 months or in Pre-launch are not eligible.
- Depending on the main field of activity, the candidate / principal candidate must have the relevant operating licenses.