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Call for Applications: innovateAFRICA Fund 2016 for Digital Media Innovators across Africa

innovateAFRICA is looking for ideas that will transform the way that African media work. This means that your idea should offer significant and tangible improvements to existing tools or techniques, or should propose new ways for African journalists to gather news, tell stories, engage with audiences, or sustain media organizations.
innovateAFRICA is a pan-African contest run by Code for Africa that aims to accelerate digital innovation in watchdog media and civic news organizations by funding transformational ideas and then continuing to support them through a network of peers and advisors. innovateAFRICA is modeled on the highly successful Knight News Challenge in the USA, and builds on the 2012 African News Innovation Challenge, but has learned from these initiatives and offers more intensive support to address the challenges facing African innovators.

Your innovation should fall into any of four broad categories: news gathering; storytelling; audience engagement; or the business of news.

Code for Africa and its partners at CFI are running an intensive series of brainstorming workshops and hackathons across the continent to help digital innovators build teams and test their projects against with industry experts.

CFI also offers a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) in French for aspiring news pioneers to help journalists improve their digital literacy and (as a separate course) for technologists to improve their understanding of journalism. However, not everyone can however physically attend a workshop or spend weeks completing a MOOC. innovateAFRICA therefore hosts regular webinars and Q&A sessions on Google Hangout.

Code for Africa, CFI and World Bank have partnered to help these early pioneers leapfrog challenges and build teams, so that they are better positioned to turn their ideas into real-world civic media products.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • innovateAFRICA is an open and worldwide contest.
  • Anyone, anywhere can therefore apply – as long as they have an African partner to help with implementation.
  • There is no other age or geographic restriction.
  •  The competition is open to nonprofits, for-profits or individuals of any age, anywhere in the world.
  •  Awards to minors will be made to an intermediary designated by innovateAFRICA.


The total purse for  prizes is $1 million.


Winners will receive cash grants of between $12,500 and $100,000, depending on the potential impact and the operational requirements of the project. Each project’s operational requirements will be spelled out in a detailed budget that shortlisted finalists will be required to file in the 2nd phase of judging. Finalists will receive feedback from innovateAFRICA’s technical review panel to help them develop this budget and a related business plan.


CFI, the Media Development Investment Fund and the Global Editors Network (GEN) will provide winners with one-on-one mentorship and technical advice from some of the world’s leading media strategists. innovateAFRICA will also host regular webinars and Q&A sessions with industry specialists mentors, while technology labs affiliated with Code for Africa will offer grantees co-workplace, feedback on technology designs / solutions, and developer support to built aspects of their projects.


The dates below are guidelines. Their intention is to give you an idea of the timeframe of the process.

  • September 01,  2016: Contest opens
  • December 01, 2016: Application deadline
  • December 20, 2016: Finalists announced and invited to submit full proposals
  • January 20, 2017 Winners are announced

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the innovateAFRICA Fund 2016

Deadline: December 01, 2016 at midnight (Central African Time)

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