The 100 finalists were selected from about 25,000 applicants who applied to pitch their ideas for innovative solutions to the health and economic challenges caused by the virus.
The applications came from different countries across Africa and other continents after 72-hour ideathon curated 750 solutions, from which an expert panel selected the Top 100 Solutions.
The Bank will award the 20 best solutions out of the Top 100 Solutions finalists, further technical assistance. In addition, the 20 winners will be eligible to receive, from a pool of in-kind prizes, worth more than $1 million in awards, to be announced in September.
The solutions were focused on specific thematic areas relevant to the African context, such as public health and epidemiology, vulnerable populations, businesses & economy, community, education, entertainment, government support, environment and energy and food security.
“The quality of ideas and the level of engagement from participants during the online challenge showcases that innovation and a passion to find solutions are among Africa’s greatest resources,” said Dr. Jennifer Blanke, the Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development. “We’re looking forward to the next phase of the #AfricaVsVirus competition that will aim to boost the viability of the top solutions.”
Judges evaluated submissions based on several criteria, including the relevance of solutions, the implementation plan, and the impact and quality of the team. The experts included: Yana Watson, Global Managing Partner Emeritus at Dalberg Global Development Advisors; Ada Osakwe, Creative Food Entrepreneur and Investor at Agrolay Ventures; and Vanessa M. Moungar, Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society at the African Development Bank Group.
The #AfricaVsVirus challenge is part of the Bank’s continent-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bank has launched a $10 billion Covid Response Facility to help countries strengthen their health and social protection systems as well as build economic resilience to sustain jobs and livelihoods.
The primary objective of the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy is to harness the innovation, creativity and energy of Africa’s youth to solve Africa’s challenges. The AfricaVsVirus Challenge is implemented by the Bank strategy Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab (https://bit.ly/2wtWect) as well as the Youth Entrepreneurship & Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund (https://bit.ly/30q7Mu4) working together with implementing partners Seedstars (www.Seedstars.com) digital agency WAAT (https://WAAT.eu) and development consultants Luvent Consulting (www.Luvent-Consulting.com).