The AECF was launched at the World Economic Forum Africa in 2007 to respond to the need for an Africa based fund that would support African business, particularly in the areas of finance and agriculture. It was begun with start-up capital from the British and Dutch Governments, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The AECF launched the first competition in 2008 and since then has grown to be one of the largest challenge funds in Africa. During the past 8 years, the AECF has opened 8 funding windows which include several rounds of funding. In total the AECF has conducted 21 competitions. The AECF has received over 8,000 applications and has approved funding to over 250 business projects.

To get a better idea of the AECF journey use the time scale under our history page to navigate to key milestones.

 

  • AECF Conference 2016

    AECF Conference 2016

    The 5th Annual AECF Conference for Grantees and Stakeholders took place in Nairobi, Kenya at the UN Complex in Gigiri.

  • TZAW Round 4 launched

    TZAW Round 4 launched

    TZAW R4 was launched in a press conference held in heart of Dar es Salaam’s financial center, Posta.

  • REACT Sponsors GOGLA Conference 2015

    REACT Sponsors GOGLA Conference 2015

    AECF REACT is participating in the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) Conference 2015

  • The latest AECF Conference

    The latest AECF Conference

    The latest AECF Conference encouraging AECF grantees to engage is scheduled for  28/ 29 August 2014 in Nairobi. To register to attend, 

  • Agribusiness Africa Window (AAWR2) Live!

    Agribusiness Africa Window (AAWR2) Live!

    AAWR2 supports business ideas that will make a positive impact in the fields of agribusiness, financial services and value chains in Africa.

  • REACT Round 3 Live!

    REACT Round 3 Live!

    The 3rd round of Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies (REACT) is open and accepting applications for the East African Community.

  • AECF Tanzania Round 3 Launches

    AECF Tanzania Round 3 Launches

    The third round of the Tanzania Window goes live, encouraging agribusinesses from anywhere in the world to apply for funding for projects in Tanzania.

  • AECF REACT in Mozambique

    AECF REACT in Mozambique

    This special AECF REACT Window aims to catalyse private sector investment and innovation in low cost, clean energy and climate change technologies in Mozambique.

  • Zimbabwe Window Round 3 goes live

    Zimbabwe Window Round 3 goes live

    Backed by past successes, AECF Zimbabwe Window 3 opens to support business ideas in the fields of agribusiness, rural financial services and value chains that will have a positive impact on the rural poor.

  • Funding Window starts for Post Conflict States (PCW)

    Funding Window starts for Post Conflict States (PCW)

    This AECF Competition opens for Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia/Somaliland. A good response is received from businesses.

  • Measuring Challenge Fund Impacts

    Measuring Challenge Fund Impacts

    Hugh Scott, explains that challenge funds are traditionally demand driven grant-funding mechanisms, run as competitions where the winnings bids receive funding, such as the AECF.

  • AECF feature: CNBC Africa

    AECF feature: CNBC Africa

    Hugh Scott, Director of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund joins ABN's Lerato Mbele from Nairobi to explain the AECF and how it works.

  • Agribusiness Africa Window (AAW) Live!

    Agribusiness Africa Window (AAW) Live!

    AAW supports business ideas that will make a positive impact in the fields of agribusiness, financial services and value chains in Africa.

  • Second REACT Round Opens

    Second REACT Round Opens

    AECF's REACT funding window round 2 remains designed to catalyse private sector investment and innovation in low cost, clean energy and climate change technologies.

  • Funding available for investors in South Sudan

    Funding available for investors in South Sudan

    The AECF South Sudan Window opens to support business ideas in the fields of agribusiness, associated service sectors and value chains for South Sudan.

  • Round 2 for Tanzania Investors

    Round 2 for Tanzania Investors

    TZAW Round 2 opens to support a wide range of agribusinesses with good innovative ideas that will have a positive development impact in Tanzania.

  • Zimbabwe Window opens Round 2

    Zimbabwe Window opens Round 2

    From Round 1’s success comes Round 2, once more supporting innovative ideas in the fields of agribusiness, rural financial services and value chains for Zimbabwe.

  • KTN Interviews AECF Director

    KTN Interviews AECF Director

    Hugh Scott, Director of the AECF, introduces the AECF and how it combines typical features of challenge funds and innovative methods.

  • First Tanzania Window competition opens

    First Tanzania Window competition opens

    The AECF TZAW opens to support agribusinesses with good innovative ideas for implementation in Tanzania that will have a positive development impact.

  • Round 2 of Research Into Business (RIB) goes Live!

    Round 2 of Research Into Business (RIB) goes Live!

    The second round of the Research Into Business Window (RIB) goes live.

  • REACT Window Round 1 live!

    REACT Window Round 1 live!

    The AECF REACT Window opens to support private sector investment and innovation in low cost, clean energy and climate change technologies.

  • Research Into Business (RIB) is launched!

    Research Into Business (RIB) is launched!

    The RIB Window aims to stimulating the private sector to commercialize existing, readily available and near complete agricultural research and technology products for the benefit of the rural poor in Africa.

  • Zimbabwe competition opens

    Zimbabwe competition opens

    The AECF Zimbabwe Window opens to support ideas in the fields of agribusiness, rural financial services and value chains which extend from rural Zimbabwe to local and international markets.

  • AECF celebrates first Anniversary!

    AECF celebrates first Anniversary!

    The AECF celebrates its first year anniversary in Cape Town at the World Economic Forum, Africa Summit 2009, exactly a year after it launched at the same venue in June 2008.

  • General Window Round 3 begins

    General Window Round 3 begins

    The AECF General Window Round 3 opens on the back of the previous rounds’ success. Like the other rounds, this is a competition open only to for-profit companies.

  • General Window Round 2 goes Live!

    General Window Round 2 goes Live!

    The AECF General Window Round 2 opens to support business ideas in the fields of agribusiness, financial services and value chains which extend across Africa and international markets.

  • The AECF makes its first grants!

    The AECF makes its first grants!

    The AECF awards its very first grants (6) totalling about $6.5m and covering over five countries. About 1.2m rural households are expected to benefit directly from this.

  • AECF at the Making Finance Work for Africa Conference

    AECF at the Making Finance Work for Africa Conference

    The AECF was exhibited in the ‘New instruments for financial services’ session at the MFW4A conference in Accra - Ghana, garnering potential “deals”.

  • Round 1 of General Window Opens

    Round 1 of General Window Opens

    The AECF General Window opens to support business ideas in the fields of agribusiness, financial services and

    value chains which extend across Africa and international markets.

  • Challenge Fund Goes Live!

    Challenge Fund Goes Live!

    AECF had a very successful launch in Cape Town alongside the World Economic Forum Africa Summit. East Africa is next, on 10th June then 12th in West Africa.

     

  • Early Bird Applications Sought

    Early Bird Applications Sought

    The first phase of the AECF General Window is a request for early proposals and open to business ideas across Africa.

  • AECF Launches at World Economic Forum

    AECF Launches at World Economic Forum

    The UK becomes one of the first donors to get behind a new fund, which will support businesses to help people in Africa become economically active.