Africa Innovates for the SDGs is a new award for African social innovators with exceptional ideas and initiatives linked to any of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Co-Chair of the Group of Eminent Advocates for the SDGs and President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, launched the award for a new generation of early-stage social innovators in Africa who are solving pressing problems in the SDG focus areas. The award will put a spotlight on the winning SDG innovators and raise awareness around their work.

Open to innovators from any one of Africa’s countries, Africa Innovates for the SDGs will recognize and award exceptional early-stage African innovation that solves key challenges linked to the Sustainable Development Goals. The winners will be awarded the grand prize and have their work showcased at an international level, helping them to expand their work.

Africa and the SDGs

Africa is a vibrant continent full of people with incredible potential, relentless drive and unwavering optimism about the future. Characterized as the youngest continent in the world, Africa faces numerous challenges, and at the same time offers immense opportunities just waiting to be harnessed.

The United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals lay out a framework that will guide Africa to overcome some of the most critical challenges before us and provide the opportunity to tap into innovative, African-driven solutions to these challenges. But time is of the essence: in order to achieve the goals in Africa by 2030, the time to act is now, and grassroots innovators have a critical role to play. Grassroots innovators have a unique perspective and can spot gaps in SDG focus areas that other actors might miss. This perspective enables them to understand solutions at their core and develop solutions that work in the long term.

Africa Innovates for the SDGs is seeking innovative solutions that will make a substantial contribution towards improving livelihoods and accelerating development across various economic sectors, whether it is health care, education, climate change, or any of the SDG focus areas. Successful innovations may start off small, but they will have the potential to scale to impact tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of beneficiaries!

Basic eligibility criteria:

  • Applicant must be a citizen of any African country or a resident in any African countries for a minimum of 3 consecutive years.
  • Applicant must be 18 years or older.

General criteria

The solutions submitted to Africa Innovates for the SDGs must:

  • Be unique, new and innovative.
  • Clearly contribute to one or more of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Have already been tested or have proven impact.
  • Have the potential to create strong and meaningful impact on society especially for large numbers of people.

Applications must be received by September 7, 2018.


Selected innovators will receive funding to develop and scale their innovations to become financially sustainable and reach as many beneficiaries as possible. Successful applicants will receive regional exposure and a cash award.

How to Apply

You can complete an application form online by clicking here. On the application form, you will be asked to describe your innovation and answer a number of questions. If you have any problems viewing the form, please send an email to

For more information, visit the official website of the Africa Innovates for the SDGs award for African social innovators