Applications for Smart Cities Innovation Programme opens

The Rwandan Government is calling on African tech startups operating in the mobility, housing, or fintech sector to apply to the Smart Cities Innovation Accelerator Programme (SCIP). 

Applications close on 9 May 2021

With a focus on Africa’s urban transformation meeting the Sustainable Development goals, the SCIP programme aims to support the growth of digital urban innovations in Rwanda and other African countries. According to reports, the rate of urbanisation in Africa is the highest in the world and 50% of Africans are predicted to be living in urban settings by 2030. 

The World Bank views this rapid urbanisation as untapped potential for the continent in terms of economic growth and poverty reduction.

Smart Cities Innovation Accelerator Programme

Thirty startups will be selected to take part in the prestigious programme and will be divided into three different sectors; Smart Mobility, Smart Housing, and Fintech for Affordability.

During the six-month remotely held programme, participating startups will be provided one-on-one mentorship, training, exposure to network, and connecting with international business partners and potential investors such as Volkswagen, Siemens, and the African Business Angels Network (ABAN).

Participating startups will be able to utilise Green City Kigali, Rwanda’s flagship smart city project as a sandbox to test their innovative solutions and enter the Rwandan market. 

The SCIP Accelerator will take place virtually over six months, from June until December 2021, and includes demo days held in Kigali during September. 


The following requirements apply to interested applicants for the programme;

  • Startups must have already launched their tech-enabled product or service in the African market 
  • The startup must have existing customers 
  • The startup must be within the following sectors; mobility, housing, or fintech
  • High growth potential 
  • Job creation potential 
  • Positive social or environmental impact.

 “They should also have a high growth and job creation potential, as well as a positive social and/or environmental impact. Finally, start-ups from Rwanda and/or with female members in management are preferred at equal qualification,” SCIP said in the statement.

Applications must be submitted online and applications close on May 9 2021. 

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit additional information about their startup and participate in an interview. 

SCIP is a joint project of the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation and the Tech-Entrepreneurship Initiative ‘Make-IT in Africa’. Both initiatives are implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The implementation of SCIP is supported by Luvent Consulting, MEST, and AfriLabs.

Read more: Applications for Grindstone Accelerator programme now open  
Read more: African fintechs encouraged to apply to Catapult: Inclusion Africa 2021

Featured image: Green City Kigali, Facebook 



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