AfDB unveils Top 20 AfricaVsVirus Challenge winners in virtual event

African Development Bank unveils Top 20 AfricavsVirus Challenge winners in virtual event

More than 25,000 participants from Africa and around the world pitched their ideas during a 72-hour ideathon

The African Development Bank has announced 20 finalists of the AfricaVsVirus Challenge ( who will receive a grant of up to $20,000 as well as access to business development and other in-kind services.

The Top 20 Winners, announced during a virtual event held Friday, have been selected from a shortlist of a hundred applicants who pitched ideas for innovative solutions to the health and economic challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 20 winning solutions, including a distance learning device from Cameroon, digital business training from Uganda, color-coded soap from Nigeria and digitally-encoded health records in Senegal, are designed to tackle education, economic and health challenges arising from the pandemic.

“The AfricavsVirus Challenge highlighted a diverse capacity for creativity and innovation. It is a direct reflection of how young people are creating tangible opportunities despite facing the adversity of quickly changing and unprecedented times,” said Martha T.M. Phiri, the Bank’s Director of Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development during the event.

More than 25,000 participants from Africa and around the world pitched their ideas during a 72-hour ideathon that the Bank’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab hosted in partnership with the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund in April. The top 20 entrants and their solutions were chosen according to  the relevance and impact of each solution, proposed implementation and the qualifications of team members.

“Joining AfricavsVirus was an opportunity to work with a global team to find solutions that were unique to the African perspective. Since the challenge we have been able to gain additional support from government stakeholders and start conversations on the need for more public-private partnerships,” said Tizzita Tefera, a Top 20 Winner who participated in the virtual event. Tefera’s team, Maisha Technology, has developed a solution that uses affordable drones to deliver COVID-19 test kits to rural health centers in Ethiopia.

The AfricavsVirus Challenge is part of the Bank’s continent-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic that includes an up to $10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility ( to help countries tackle the health and economic impacts of the crisis.

The initiative was funded by the Bank’s Fund for African Private Sector Assistance, Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-donor Trust Funds (YEI MDTF) and received direct support from the government of Switzerland and the European Commission through the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab (IEL). Both YEI MDTF and IEL are programs of the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, which aims to create 25 million direct and indirect jobs over the next decade and uplift the lives of 50 million young people.

To learn more about AfricaVsVirus and the Top 20 Winners visit





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