Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund Goes Live!

Business Fights Poverty

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) website goes live today.

The AECF is a US$50-100m private sector fund, backed by some of the biggest names in development finance and hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Its aim is to encourage private sector companies to compete for like-for-like investment support for their new and innovative business ideas.

Where will the AECF work?

The AECF is open to proposals from all countries in Africa. However it will focus initially on 13 countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia) operating from three regional hubs (Nairobi, Accra and Johannesburg). Multi-country and regional projects are also eligible.

Who funds The AECF?

The African Development Bank (ADB), the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA) are the initial funders of the AECF. Others may join in due course.

Early Bird Window

The AECF is offering a once-off, special, fast-track “Early Bird” window for companies to apply for support.

You simply have to complete the application form and submit to them on or before 30th June, 2008.

They would welcome your application before 30th June so that they can, if necessary, discuss your applications with you before the closing date of 30th June.

On or before 15th July they will have selected the best 12 proposals and will get back to these “winners” asking them to prepare full business plans for their business ideas.

These business plans will have to submitted by 5th August, 2008. They will evaluate these plans and their investment committee, at its first meeting on 22 August, will decide on which 6 business ideas to support. They expect to finalise contracts for these 6 projects by early September.

If your business idea does not win funding support in this Early Bird Window, it will automatically be entered into the first round of normal AECF activity for which the closing date is 5th August.

If you have any questions about the Early Bird Window please email the AECF team at in**@ae********.org or speak to Hugh Scott, the CEO of the AECF and a member of Business Fights Poverty.

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4 Responses

  1. We had a very successful launch of the AECF in Cape Town this morining alongside the World Economic Forum Africa Summit and you can expect to see press coverage (particularly in the SA press) starting tomorrow. We will launch in East Africa (Nairobi) on Tuesday next week (10th) and in West Africa (Accra) on 12th. If anybody would like to attend these launch events please email lk***@kp**.ke and ask for an invitation. Delighted to see you there and talk about this exciting new initiative.

    Otherwise just go to website, click on Early Bird and send in your applications.

    Hugh Scott (CEO, AECF)

  2. This a great iniciative, thank you for sharing.
    It’s a pitty that, as a private consultant, I can’t apply.
    Maybe my project of social software could have interested somebody: http://www.conectafrica.wordpress.com
    Well, I’m sure the “Early Birds” are going to show up interesting things, so thank you for this action & I go on searching for some help.
    Kind regards

  3. It is great that the Challenge Fund concept lives on since the first challenge funds – the financial deepening and business linkages challenge funds. I am involved with one in Vietnam, the Vietnam Challenge Fund, sponsored by the Ford Foundation. The challenge fund approach has challenged the private sector to suggest innovative solutions to fighting poverty. Congratulations to my colleagues at KPMG for an innovative proposal, and to Hugh Scott in his new role.

  4. I echo Hugh and Corin’s excitement and enthusiasm about the AECF. It will open up fantastic opportunities for the continent with such positive ripple effects for the Africa economy. Imani Development is proud to be associated with KPMG, Triple Line Consulting and Crown Agents. Take advantage of the last six days of the ‘early bird’ window to get your applications submitted to the fund.

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