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Fighting hunger: Kofi Annan Foundation seeks innovative African start-ups

The career diplomat Kofi Annan, 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations, was a global citizen and Nobel Prize winner together with the UN in 2001 - but above all he was a son of Ghana, born in Kumasi. 

The Kofi Annan Foundation, based in Geneva, is dedicated to his legacy. As a company that is active in Ghana and also knows Kumasi well, EWIA Green Investments is both committed to and honoured to support the work of the foundation.

African solutions for 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals 

Together with the Austrian Federal Chancellery, the foundation is organising the Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa, which aims to raise awareness of the potential of African entrepreneurs to achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Entrepreneurial start-ups with a proven business model and a proven social impact are invited to submit applications. The application deadline for the current round is 8 February. 

EWIA CEO Ralph Schneider has been part of an international team supporting the foundation and jury since 2021. This year, the aim is to identify innovative solutions to improve food security and the resilience of food systems across Africa. We are looking for innovative, technology-based solutions from across Africa that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goal SDG2, which is "Zero Hunger". EWIA is currently examining ways in which villages in Cameroon can be electrified. Solar power provides the basis for operating water pumps and maintaining cold chains and is therefore essential for the rural population and the fight against hunger #SDG2. "That's why I'm keen to support the Kofi Annan Foundation again this year," says Ralph Schneider.

Nine companies will be selected from the applications and invited to take part in an innovation boot camp and pitch in front of a jury. The three teams with the greatest potential receive a grant of €250,000, are presented at a public event and then supported with twelve months of training to ensure the foundation for sustainable growth. A strong network of mentors, investors and business partners will support the successful applicants.

The prize is operationally supported by the Austrian Development Agency and the Innovation Accelerator of the UN World Food Programme.

Creating prosperity in Africa

Such an award is exactly what Africa needs. African solutions for African problems, intelligently flanked by international organisations. There are plenty of innovative entrepreneurs on the continent (see Wahu! Mobility), but there is often a lack of funding and access. This is where the Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa comes in. 

EWIA simply means "sun" in Twi, one of the most widely spoken languages in Ghana. However, the claim of EWIA Green Investments GmbH is already hidden in our name: Enable Wealth iAfrica. So let's identify those innovative African companies that develop sustainable solutions and create prosperity. Because: By 2035, Africa will have the largest labour force in the world. By 2050, more than half of the world's population growth will take place in Africa. EWIA wants to create the energy basis for this growth with affordable, reliable and green solar power solutions.


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