Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa – 1 million euros for Entrepreneurship in Africa

The call for applications for the Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa is now open!

The Federal Chancellery of Austria, together with its partners, the World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator, the Austrian Development Agency and the Kofi Annan Foundation, is looking for promising social entrepreneurs with digital or technology-powered solutions that are helping to improve the health and well-being of people in Africa in line with SDG3.

The award aims to support promising African social entrepreneurs with a sustainable business model in the further development of digital solutions for the common good. Successful applicants will be invited to participate in an innovation boot camp and subsequently gain the opportunity to get a grant of up to 250,000 EUR and be a part of an accelerator programme.

The award is looking for outstanding, innovative solutions in Africa in the areas of health and well-being in line with the UN Agenda 2030 ‘SDG3’ 


Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa: The Prize

Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa logo





The partner organisations – the Federal Chancellery of Austria, the Austrian Development Agency, the World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator, and the Kofi Annan Foundation – want to support innovative solutions that address the urgent healthcare needs of people across Africa. The process for the prize will be as follows:

  • Nine teams will be selected to participate in an entirely virtual World Food Programme Innovation Bootcamp. They will benefit from the chance to work with technical and industry mentors who will provide guidance to develop further their solutions.
  • These nine ventures will be able to leverage a network of relevant businesses, investors and mentors.
  • Projects that make it to bootcamp will have the opportunity to apply to the Austrian Development Agency for one of three grants worth EUR 250,000 each
  • The three ventures that are each awarded EUR 250,000 will also join the World Food Programme Sprint Programme, a 12-month acceleration programme with access to mentorship, and a global network of partners.

Application Deadline: 1 December 2021 11:59 pm (CET)

The full eligibility criteria and background information can be found in the ‘Call for Innovations’ documentation.



Press information

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of international cooperation and innovative solutions in the field of health. That is why the Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa focuses on the third Sustainable Development Goal: Health and Well-Being (“SDG3”).  The Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa aims to identify companies and start-ups with a positive social impact on the African continent and support them in scaling up their digital solutions. The following institutions are partnering in the organization of this Award: the Federal Chancellery of Austria, the Austrian Development Agency, the World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator and the Kofi Annan Foundation.



The Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa Jury includes:

  • Valerie AMOS, Master of University College Oxford and former UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
  • Kojo ANNAN, Ghanaian-Nigerian businessman and son of the late former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
  • Elhadj AS SY, Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation and former Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (ICRC)
  • David BEASLEY, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP)
  • Yacine DJIBO, Founder and CEO of “Speak Up Africa”
  • Bogolo KENEWENDO, Economist and former Minister for Investments, Trade and Industry of Botswana
  • Antonella MEI-POCHTLER, Special Advisor to the Austrian Federal Chancellor and head of the Strategy Unit ThinkAustria
  • Ludwig PRINZ VON BAYERN, German IT-entrepreneur and development actor in Kenya
  • Eric SCHMIDT, former CEO of Google and Chairman of Alphabet Inc.
  • Muhammad YUNUS, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, founder of Grameen Bank and pioneer of microcredit and microfinance


At least 400 million people lack access to basic health care, and approximately 1.6 billion people live in fragile settings. Natural and anthropogenic disasters, lack of hygiene, and malnutrition combined with insufficient basic health services present a significant risk to the health and well-being of those affected.

The incredible progress that has been made in the fight against HIV still leaves more than 15 million people waiting for treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in December 2015 that the global incidence of malaria had finally been slowed, however, malaria and other contagious, preventable diseases, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and even leprosy, are still major obstacles to achieving SDG 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 per cent of the world’s disease burden, but its share of global health expenditures is less than 1 per cent, 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. Global health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, show once again the importance of stable, functioning health systems to provide people with access to quality healthcare, vaccines and medications.

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