UNDP call for proposals for the Africa Borderlands Centre Innovation Challenge to support borderlands’ stakeholders in scaling impact, unlocking development finance, catalyzing behavioral change, improving the efficiency of social services, and exploring frontier technologies through social innovation.
The overall objective of the Africa Borderlands Innovation Challenge is to improve the quality of life of borderlands’ communities and to ensure that they maximize their benefits from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Indicative questions that guide ideas for consideration include by thematic category:
- Market Intelligence: How can mapping of consumer behaviours, purchasing habits, demand and supply flows, trends and patterns of transactions be utilized to develop or expand pipelines for ICBT in borderlands communities? How can such information be managed, updated and utilized across different periods and how can this strengthen inclusiveness and profitability for ICBT businesses being run by the most vulnerable and marginalized, particularly women and children?
- Crowd/Pooled Funding: How can these indigenous practices on resource mobilization, credit management, cashflow management and lending be curated, adapted, expanded and blended with private sector funds, to benefit more borderland traders and trading communities? How can private sector players (Banks, Telecommunications Companies, etc.) be incentivized to support the formalization of cross-border businesses, boost profit margins for the traders and promote sustainability through capital injection?
- Technology: How can technology leverage on the existing local practices to boost the trading capacity and reach of ICBT traders and reduce the risks associated with physical travel? How can new protocols in digital interoperability be developed, to enhance the efficiency of mobile money across borders? How can the informal financial systems reduce abuse, fraud and other risks associated with “black market” transactions through technology? How can these lead to reduction in transaction costs, time lag, multiple taxation, exploitation, and harassment of traders be reduced through more efficient and transparent financing system for cross border trade?
- Investment-Readiness Programming: How can youths and women, who are marginal players, or not included in the ICBT value chain, be cultivated to enable them organize their businesses in such a manner that could attract increased trust, capital and other forms of support from investors, within the borderlands or in the formal sector.
- Green and Energy Efficient ICBT: How can cost-efficient measures for capturing carbon dioxide contribute to the creation of green energy sources and enhance sustainability of small and vulnerable borderlands ICBT-focused businesses?
- Each proposal submitted is expected to have the maximum value of US$200,000
- Funding for each awardee for the 2021 round will not exceed USD160, 000 for each successful proposal. This funding support is provided to two country offices implementing the proposal.
- The counterpart funding required from each country office applying to the challenge is USD40, 000.
The priority regions for implementation of innovation at the Great Lakes, Horn of Africa and Sahel Region. However, applications are welcome from UNDP AccLabs outside the three regions, and the three (3) highest scoring proposals, based on objective criteria by the Grants Award Committee (GAC) shall be approved for the grant.
- Interested UNDP AccLabs and Country Offices in the Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA) region are eligible to submit applications for the 2021 Innovation Challenge.
- The major criteria for the 2021 Africa Borderlands Innovation Challenge are the following:
- Innovation that are based on scientific evidence of potential impact for the improvement of quality of life of borderlands’ communities;
- The primary thematic focus is on ICBT in the borderlands;
- The major beneficiaries are women and young persons involved in ICBT;
- Innovations implemented in border pairs, cutting across at least two countries;
- Innovations that are new and capable of generating a new model of solving a problem and that can be easily scaled to achieve maximum impact;
- Activities that demonstrate that they can be easily scaled to achieve maximum impact;
- Activities with clear and viable exit strategy for UNDP AccLabs/Country Offices;
- Activities that are led and driven by local borderlands inhabitants with skills to deliver;
- Activities that promote social cohesion through creative entrepreneurship models;
- Activities that are ready for investment, with potentially strong consumer demands and particularly interesting to investors from the private sector; and
- Activities that are sustainable based on the social capita and limited resources of the borderlands’ communities; and
- At least 70% of the budget should be dedicated to the actual innovation.
For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3uXq95W