DT4A Innovation Challenge

WRI Africa and WRI Ross Center in partnership with Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is pleased to announce the Digital Transport for Africa (DT4A) Innovation Challenge.

The DT4A Innovation Challenge is an exciting opportunity for initiatives that aim to transform transit systems in African cities by leveraging open data and innovation.

Four applicants, selected by WRI and a jury of experts, will each receive a phased award of US$30,000 to implement a new initiative over 12 months.

Congratulations to the 4 winners of the 2022 DT4A Innovation Challenge!

Stay tuned for stories of impact.

Watch briefing session (English)
Dec. 14, 2021 08:00 AM ET/ 04:00 PM EAT

Regarder une séance d’information (Française)
Dec. 16, 2021 08:00 AM ET/ 04:00 PM EAT

Why the DT4A Innovation Challenge


Lack of data on transit systems presents a massive barrier for African cities, users and public transport operators hoping to navigate and plan for better and more efficient public transport. Lack of data also makes it impossible to measure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 11.2, which calls for “safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all.” Today, only 15 African cities have mapped their public transport and minibus taxi networks and have the data in a standardized and open format. At least 105 million people living in African cities do not have reliable information on their transit systems. Mapping cities’ transit networks can not only improve the experience of users but foster ecosystems and skills that can enable African cities to better leverage the data revolution.


Objective of the DT4A Innovation Challenge


We know there are many innovators in African cities working to solve these problems from the ground up. The DT4A Innovation Challenge aims to support organizations and initiatives, from private companies to universities and NGOs, that are contributing to the movement for open data across the region and improved planning and implementation of sustainable mobility, particularly of the paratransit or informal transport sector.



The DT4A Innovation Challenge invites applicants to submit proposals under three main activity areas. Applicants can apply for one of the following activities:



For applicants developing and deploying open-source tools for transit data collection, management, transit operations, and passenger information services


For applicants focusing on building the capacity of local governments and local mapping communities on data collection, management and analysis; building capacity of decision makers on the application of open transit data for transportation planning, management and operations; and capacity building on the development and uptake of passenger user information tools and services


For applicants focusing on leveraging existing transit datasets in the DT4A repository and conducting meaningful action research and analysis

DT4A’s vision is underpinned by four policy goals adapted to the unique transportation landscape of urban Africa. Initiatives should demonstrate their alignment with and progress towards achieving SDG 11.2 and the Sustainable Mobility for All vision:

  • Universal Access – Connecting all communities, with an emphasis on vulnerable groups including women and children, people living with disabilities and those living in extreme poverty, to the necessary opportunities and resources of urban life.
  • Efficiency – Improving the reliability, affordability, and quality of public transport services inclusive of all formal, semi-formal and informal transit providers.
  • Safety – Greatly reducing traffic-related fatalities, injuries and crashes.
  • Green – Minimizing the negative environmental impact of mobility, which includes greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.




Organizations/NGOs, academic institutions, and private companies that have projects or initiatives that fit the selection criteria are eligible to apply for the DT4A Innovation Challenge. Applicants must have the support of local authorities (municipalities) and provide letters of support from city representatives is highly recommended. Applicants must be from Africa or working in Africa. Only one application per organization can be submitted.

Organizations, including non-profits, academic institutions and private companies must:

  • Be a non-profit, non-governmental organization, or private company and be officially registered where you operate
  • Have a total annual operational budget of more than US$20,000
  • Be able to complete an Organizational Capacity Assessment, containing questions on organizational governance, internal controls, accounting, audit resolution, and technical capacity, in English or in French, and receive a medium to low-risk rating.
  • Be able to provide the most recent annual audit of your organization. If you do not have an audit, you must provide the following three documents:
    • A balance sheet for the most recent year and the previous year
    • An income statement for the current and previous year
    • A cash flow statement for the current and previous year
  • Have at least one key project person with professional working proficiency in English or in French (oral and written), in order to be able to submit narrative and financial progress reports and communicate regularly with WRI staff.

NOTE: Please note that WRI will conduct a background screening once the finalists are selected. Please consult the full Terms and Conditions before applying.




Applicants will need to meet the following criteria to be selected as a finalist:

  • Demonstrate a strong understanding of DT4A’s objectives and clearly articulate how the innovation/initiative aligns with the DT4A Innovation Challenge.
  • Describe clearly what the innovation is and how it is filling a need/gap in the city/community particularly for underserved groups/vulnerable communities.
  • Explain how the innovation is utilizing open-source transit data, tools and applications.
  • Describe the impact of the proposed initiative/innovations on sustainable urban mobility in accordance with SDG 11 and the four policy goals indicated above (universal access, efficiency, safety and green).
  • Describe the scalability of the innovation/initiative to other geographies.
  • Explain how the grant will be used within the given timeline and justify its feasibility; AND
  • Provide a letter of support from a relevant government agency.

To apply for the DT4A Innovation Challenge the applicant must register on the application portal to complete the online form. Follow the link below to find instructions on how to apply for the innovation grant and begin the application process. You may also upload photos, videos and any other supporting documents to support your application.

You will be able to make changes to your submission until the submission period closes on February 16, 2022, 11:59 pm EAT.



The timeframe for the DT4A Innovation Challenge is as follows, while project implementation is from June 1, 2022, to April 21, 2023. The graph below provides an overview of the key dates that the applicant should consider.


There will be two important meetings planned monthly to update the progress of the activities as well as to get guidance from the Advisory Committee throughout the implementation of the project.

  • Weekly check with WRI (Planned once a month – first week of the month), June 2022 – March 2023.
  • Check in with Advisory Committee (Planned once in two months – last week of the month), June 2022 – April 2023.




Following the announcement of the winning Applicants, WRI Africa and the finalists will jointly draft and sign an Award Agreement. The Agreement will set out a strategy for the award finalists and define the terms of reference, including but not limited to the work plan, deliverables and timeline over the period of the award agreement (up to 12 months). The Award Agreement will also define a schedule and milestones for the finalists to receive the monetary award.

Please note that finalists will be awarded the money in two phases:

  • The first disbursement will be made once the design, planning and preparation stage is complete. Finalists will work closely with DT4A’s advisory group to clearly identify an implementation strategy, activities, budget and other key items. Once this is complete, submitted and approved, 50% of the funds will be dispersed.
  • The second disbursement will be made once the implementation is complete and finalists have presented their achievements to DT4A’s advisory group, a final report has been submitted and DT4A will have carried out a site assessment.


Please consult the Terms and Conditions before applying. Questions? Please contact us.