Villgro Africa/AI4D Africa Call for Responsible AI Innovations 2021

The Artificial Intelligence for Development in Africa (AI4D Africa) program is a joint endeavor between IDRC and SIDA  to support innovations, policy research, and skills to spur responsible AI development in Africa.

Villgro Africa is an early-stage business incubator and impact investor that supports health, life science and agricultural startups on the African continent – to transform product and process innovations into viable, scalable businesses that impact the base of the economic pyramid (BoP).

AI4D and Villgro Africa have partnered with the aim of uncovering African-led AI innovations that will be instrumental in catalyzing the emerging ecosystem towards responsible development of the technology while strengthening the capacity of African innovators with regards to scaling their impact and improving development outcomes.

As part of the initiative, an innovation bootcamp has been organized for these selected entrepreneurial AI practitioners, to work with them to develop innovative and commercially viable products and services.

Sectors of focus include:
  • Health
  • Agriculture
  • Climate Action
  • Finance


This call shall be limited to citizens and/or nationals from East, West or Southern Africa who are attached to a university, research institution, private company, or other related organization.


Funding – Initial investment funding of up to $10,000 for selected innovations
Access to Networks – Access to development and investor networks from AI4D and Villgro Africa.
Investment Readiness – Receive mentorship and training for up to 3 months that will enable you to communicate effectively with potential partners and investors.

Selection Criteria

  • An AI-based innovation with the potential for development impact and scale (30 points)
  • An AI-based innovation with the potential for commercial application (25 points)
  • A multidisciplinary team of three (3) members e.g. comprising academia and industry/private sector (20 points).
  • Align with the principles of Responsible AI Design (15 points)
  • Technical proof of concept will be preferred over unproven ideas (10 points).

How to apply?

  • Applicants must first log in to their user account on VC4A to access the full application. If you don’t have a user account on VC4A, you will be asked to signup and complete 3 onboarding questions, before you can start with your application.
  • All applications have to be submitted via the online application form.
Application Deadline: April 9, 2021

For any questions or additional information, please contact: [email protected]

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Responsible AI Innovations 2021

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