WE4F Southern and Central Africa Regional Innovation Hub Announces Winners of the First Call for Innovations

For Immediate Release

July 8, 2022

Pretoria – The Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) Grand Challenge Southern and Central Africa Regional Innovation Hub (S/CA RIH) announced today the 8 winners of the first S/CA Call for Innovations.

The first Call for Innovation awardees are from four countries in the region and fall into three major innovation types: water-ag technology, energy-ag technology, and digital solutions that can be a combination of technologies. Together, innovators and the S/CA RIH can impact food security, poverty reduction, gender equality, and base of the pyramid integration while promoting environmental sustainability, climate mitigation and resilience, and the protection of nature and biodiversity.

A total of $715,000 in grants will be divided amongst the 8 innovators. In addition to the grants, innovators will receive technical assistance and investment facilitation. The 8 awardees are:

  1. Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) (Zambia) – helps farmers use sustainable agricultural practices to produce organic food and protect biodiversity.
  2. FarmHut Africa (Zimbabwe)provides a digital marketplace and logistic service to farmers, helping reduce their energy consumption.
  3. KivuGreen (Democratic Republic of the Congo) – provides farmers with weather and extension services through their digital platform.
  4. Lanforce Energy (Zimbabwe) – sells and provides access to biodigesters through a PAYGO system. 
  5. Rural Integrated Engineering (South Africa, Mozambique) – provides irrigation products and services through their Virtual Irrigation Academy.
  6. Solar Village (Zambia) – sells Micron’s highly water-efficient sprayers and the Solar Village Battery Stick to rural smallholder farmers.
  7. Sylva Food Solutions (Zambia) – provides food processing solutions and training to smallholder farmers in the horticulture value chain.
  8. Zonful Energy (Zimbabwe) – sells affordable solar-powered water pumps using a PAYGO business model.

The Call for Innovations is an activity under Water and Energy for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development (WE4F). WE4F is an international partnership amongst the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands, Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). WE4F aims to increase food production, impact gender and poverty, and promote biodiversity, climate, and environmental resilience by sustainably scaling solutions to meet the challenges in the water-energy-food nexus.  

The WE4F Southern and Central Africa Regional Innovation Hub (a consortium of Tetra Tech, Open Capital Advisors, and International Water Management Institute) supports the scaling-up of energy and/or water-efficient innovations in 12 countries, with a focus on women and base of the pyramid. Innovations include technologies, business and finance models, and new modes of cooperation. 

To learn more, visit: https://we4f.org/sca and follow @WE4FGCD on Twitter.