FAQs: What is the African Forum – 100 Innovations for Sustainable Development?

What is the African Forum – 100 Innovations for Sustainable Development?

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the initiative of the Minister Delegate for Development, Pascal Canfin, will organise, in partnership with the French Development Agency (AFD), a Forum at which innovations fostering sustainable development in Africa will be presented and showcased. This Forum will take place just before the Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa (to be held on 6 and 7 December 2013).

A distinguished selection panel (WinnieByanyima, Jean-Michel Severino, Esther Duflo, MalamineKoné) will select some 100 projects and initiatives designed and/or carried out in the African countries attending the Summit following a call for applications.

Twenty one African innovators (among the one hundred projects selected) will be invited to Paris on 4 and 5 December to present their innovative initiatives and meet with French development actors.

This event is designed to highlight concrete innovative projects and practical solutions introduced at national or local level in different fields such as healthcare, the environment, agriculture, food security, education and new technologies. Above and beyond their entrepreneurial quality and economic viability, these innovations will be judged on their contribution to sustainable development and their positive social and environmental impact.

This event follows on from the Conference on Development and International Solidarity (link to page) which was closed by the President of the French Republic on 1 March 2012, and it bears witness to France’s support (via the AFD Group) for innovation processes to drive sustainable development in Africa.

Who can submit a proposal?

To submit a proposal, you must meet all the following selection criteria. You must:

  • be a citizen of a Sub-Saharan African country;
  • be a resident of Africa;
  • have developed and implemented an innovation (social, environmental, technological, financial, economic, etc.) that contributes to achieving sustainable development objectives;
  • have put your innovation into practice or carried out a trial (at least at local level).

What types of innovations are covered by the call for proposals?

The selection panel will consider proposals that present innovations contributing to: sustainable development; African entrepreneurship; the small and medium enterprise sector; and growth that is focused on solidarity and meets the essential needs of populations while offering solutions to social and environmental crises.

The purpose of the African Forum - 100 Innovations for Sustainable Development in Africa is to bring together financial, technical and technological, social, cultural and environmental innovations that reinforce the community and reduce exclusion of its most vulnerable members, that benefit underprivileged populations and neighbourhoods, that foster gender equality and that lend themselves to rapid dissemination.

What sectors does the African Forum cover?

The focus of the African Forum is on innovations in the fields of:

  • Agriculture and agro-ecology;
  • Environment, waste, energy and water, cities and underprivileged neighbourhoods;
  • Healthcare and food security;
  • Day-to-day well-being;
  • Social innovations that foster gender equality and reduce exclusion, especially of the most vulnerable people;
  • Information and communication technologies (ICTs);
  • Financial innovations with a strong social focus;
  • Education and culture;
  • Support for businesses.

What opportunities does the Forum offer?

The African Forum – 100 Innovations for Sustainable Development is designed as a platform for promoting the innovation capabilities of actors in Africa. Citizens, cities, rural areas and countries harbour creative energy and engagement that can drive social, economic and environmental progress and stimulate growth. This innovative potential must be harnessed to direct growth towards high-quality, human, inclusive and sustainable development.

Participation in the African Forum provides an opportunity to hold discussions and meetings with development and innovation specialists (NGOs, researchers, etc.), investors, companies, public figures and leading policy-makers.

In addition, there will be broad-based media coverage of the event. The 100 innovations will be showcased through the Forum press kit and on the following websites:

  • AFD institutional website
  • French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • and the social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)

The top 21 innovators will be invited to Paris to present their projects to Minister Delegate Pascal Canfin, international donors and investors, foundations, researchers and other actors.

In short, the purpose of the African Forum – 100 Innovations for Sustainable Development is to create a favourable environment for supporting and disseminating your innovation.

What are the objectives of the Forum?

Taking the full measure of the momentum of the African continent and renewing its confidence in the future of that part of the world, the Forum aims to foster the creativity, investment, expansion and success of the innovators who are contributing to sustainable development in Africa.

To this end, the Forum brings together the most outstanding financial, technical, technological, social, cultural and environmental innovations that serve enterprise, society and the individual, that reinforce the community and reduce the exclusion of the most vulnerable - notably women exclusion - and that lend themselves to a rapid dissemination.

How can I submit a proposal to the Forum?

To submit a proposal, you must fill out the form (click here to access the proposal form)

Where and when will the African Forum take place?

The Forum will take place in Paris on 4 and 5 December 2013 (arrival and welcome of selected candidates on 4 December, Forum event held on 5 December).

What is the deadline for submitting a proposal?

The deadline for submitting a proposal is 15 October 2013.

What criteria will be used to judge the proposals submitted?

Criterion 1: Innovation for sustainable development

This criterion focuses on the innovation’s combined contribution to environmental, economic and social objectives, to reconciling these objectives and to improving daily life. The innovation will be assessed in terms of its impact in all areas - notably financial, organisational, institutional, the technical and technological aspects of the product or service - as well as in terms of its cultural dimension. Projects are also considered innovations when they encourage a transformation or transition, support change in day-to-day practices, habits, trades, approaches and tools and when they open up a new avenue for sustainable development.

Criterion 2: Quantitative and qualitative impact

Quantitative impact refers to the number of people affected, the scope of monetary revenue or other products created and the scope of social and environmental benefits. Qualitative impact -inclusivity, accessibility and contribution to poverty reduction - will also be taken into account. This means that a clear description of the impact must be provided.

Criterion 3: Feasability and viability

This criterion covers the current status of the project, its deployment process, its financial equilibrium, its institutional and legal organisation and its environmental integration.

Criterion 4: Replication

This refers to the project’s potential for replication, dissemination and widespread application. The procedures for disseminating the project and developing the expected partnerships should therefore be described in the proposal.

Criterion 5: Overall effectiveness and consistency

Applicants must show how their proposal offers a concrete and tangible solution to a clearly identified problem.

Who are the members of the selection panel?

The projects will be selected by a high-level selection panel made up of:

WinnieByanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International;

Jean-Michel Severino, former Director General of AFD, currently head of a fund management company focusing on SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa

Esther Duflo, internationally renowned economist, is the Abdul LatifJameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

MalamineKoné, founder and Chairman and CEO of Airness.

Selection will take place in two phases: selection of the 100 best innovations followed by selection of the 30 project developers to be invited to attend the Forum.

What is the schedule of the event?

Applicants may submit their proposals online as of Monday 16 September 2013.

Proposals will be accepted until the closing date of 15 October 2013.

The Forum schedule is as follows:

  • 4 December 2013: Arrival of innovators in Paris
  • 5 December 2013: 100 Innovations Forum