African tech startups invited to apply for the Smart Cities Innovation Programme

The accelerator is supported by the Rwandan government and multiple partners

African tech startups in the fields of mobility, housing, and fintech have been invited to apply for the Smart Cities Innovation Programme (SCIP).

SCIP is a 6-month accelerator supporting tech startups from Rwanda and other African countries in the fields of Smart Mobility, Smart Housing and Fintech for Affordability.

The startups will benefit from individual mentoring, training as well as intensive networking and matchmaking with international business partners and investors, including Volkswagen, Siemens and the African Business Angels Network (ABAN). Startups will also be able to use Green City Kigali, Rwanda’s flagship smart city project, as a sandbox to test their solutions and enter the Rwandan market.

The programme will run from June to December 2021. It will culminate with demo days organised in Kigali during the last week of September.

To qualify, the startups must have already launched their tech-enabled product or service on the African market and have customers. ‘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.

The rate of urbanisation in Africa is the highest in the world. By 2030, 50 percent of Africans are predicted to be living in urban settings. According to the World Bank, this increasing urbanisation holds much potential for the continent, as it can result in economic growth and poverty reduction. At the same time, it holds the risk of aggravating inequality and urban poverty. Therefore, concrete action to direct Africa’s urban transformation in terms of the Sustainable Development Goals is needed. In collaboration with the Rwandan government, SCIP has been set up to support the growth of digital urban innovations in Rwanda and beyond.

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.

Applications must be submitted on before the end of the Open Call on May 9. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit additional information about their startup and participate in an interview.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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