16 African companies selected for USAID grants

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced the selection of 18 new grantees together receiving US$18.4 million to support their cutting-edge innovations, with 16 African startups among the grantees.

The grantees span seven different sectors and nine countries; with 16 of the 18 companies selected companies based in Africa.

While the total amount of funding provided to the 18 companies comes to a combined US$18.4 million, individual grants were not disclosed.  

Grants are made through a phased funding model – with first time grantees receiving between US$25,000 and US$150,000 covering up to three years.  Phase two projects can apply for up to US$1.5 million, and stage three projects are eligible to apply for up to US$15 million.  However, USAID said the majority of the 18 grantees announced are first time recipients.

Kenya is home to the largest number of grantees – with eight Kenyan recipients selected.  These were Apollo Agriculture – which leverages satellite imagery and machine learning to provide advice for smallholder farmers;  machine learning-based credit assessment model for smallholder farmers FarmDrive; USSD-based tuberculosis management service Keheala; pay-as-you-go fuel stove distributor PayGo Energy; two solar microgrid providers Powerhive and PowerGen; Sanivation – which provides affordable sanitation solutions, and processes waste into fuel briquettes; and mobile money-based financial services for smallholder farmers provider Tulaa.

A further two grantees operate across Kenya and Uganda – alternative cookstove provider BURN Manufacturing; and results-based financing intermediary Instiglio.

Operating across Uganda and Malawi, One Acre Fund is being supported to scale delivery of a bundle of agricultural services aimed at smallholder farmers.

Two Rwandan companies were selected.  Pivot Works is a city-scale treatment solution that turns human waste into renewable fuel; and YLabs designs and evaluates innovations in adolescent HIV service delivery and is helping to develop an integrated national adolescent HIV and sexual and reproductive health strategy.

South Africa’s Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator was also selected, for its inclusion/exclusion data work on youth employment.

The list of African grantees is completed by Tanzania’s solar micro-grid provider Devergy; and Zambia’s J-PAL Africa literacy and numeracy programme.

The two remaining grantees hail from Brazil, and India.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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