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  • Africa Innovates for the SDGs

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Aboutwhat is Africa Innovates for the SDGs?

His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

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!

about the sustainable development goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

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Competition Criteriarequirements to apply

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.

Before you apply, you can download the Application Guide and FAQs to assist you in submitting your application.
Application Guide & FAQs [PDF]
The application period is now closed.

frequently asked questions

An SDG innovator is a person with an innovation that will contribute to achieving one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa. SDG innovators own their innovation and/or lead the organization that is or will implement the solution for the betterment of society. SDG innovators are passionate about creating change and want to implement a sustainable solution that will impact many areas of society. SDG innovators have strong leadership and entrepreneurial potential.
There are numerous ways that you can support innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals without being an innovator yourself. You can help us spread the word about Africa Innovates for the SDGs and encourage people you know to apply. Share the application website, on social media and use the hashtag #AfricaInnovates4SDGs. Ask your friends and family to share as well and be a part of the movement to promote home-grown innovations that will help Africa achieve the SDGs!
We are looking for innovative solutions that will contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and accelerate development across various sectors in Africa. We are especially looking for solutions that:

  • Are unique, new and innovative.
  • Are clearly contributing 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.
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
We allow only one innovation per innovator. Choose the innovation that is most effective, that you believe in the most and are passionate about.
We have a rigorous selection process where Reach for Change, the SDG Advisory Unit of the Office of the President of Ghana and external experts are involved in choosing successful applicants.  The applicants that make it through the screening stage of the application process will be invited to a jury interview.
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.
This competition is designed to select 5 innovators.
The applications will be evaluated, and the applicants that meet the selection criteria will be called for an interview. You will be notified as to whether you have passed on to the second step.
Yes. Please complete all the boxes provided with relevant answers on the online application form. You should not write or type beyond these boxes. We ask you to keep your answers short, concise and to the point.
Please contact Reach For Change via and we will assist you.
If you are completing the application online, you will see a message that indicates that your application has been submitted. You will also receive a confirmation email.
If your application makes it past the first selection phase, you will be notified.

Championsfrom across Africa

Joe Mensah
CEO at Kosmos Energy, Ghana
Kosmos Innovation Centre
Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie
Executive Secretary, ACBF
Dr. Claire Melamed

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Finalistsfrom across Africa


Contact usget in touch


Africa Innovates for the SDGs is awarded by the Co-Chair of the Group of Eminent Advocates for the SDGs and President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The award is implemented by the non-profit organization Reach for Change. Please direct any questions related to the competition and application process to


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