AfDB’s USD 5 Million Funds Create Economic Opportunities for African Youth in Business Development

  1. About YEI MDTF

The Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund (YEI MDTF) is a key grant-making vehicle of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB). The YEI MDTF’s objectives align to the AfDB Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022) to promote inclusive economic growth including through accelerated investment in Africa’s youth. YEI MDTF is a financial instrument of the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy (JfYA 2016–2025). JfYA has three strategic intervention areas: Integration, Innovation, and Investment. Its goal is to create 25 million jobs and equip 50 million youth with employable skills by 2025.

Thus, to advance JfYA strategy implementation, YEI MDTF seeks to:

  • Broaden economic opportunities for youth;
  • Develop skills for job creation and strengthening of human capital;
  • Increase inclusive employment and entrepreneurship; and
  • Create durable labor markets in Africa.

Recognizing that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are important levers for economic transformation and job creation for youth in Africa, the YEI MDTF supports the African entrepreneurship ecosystem through three operational focus areas:

  1. Business Development Services (BDS) for youth-led start-ups and MSMEs;
  • Research Studies on the entrepreneurship ecosystem; and
  • Government Policy and Regulatory Reform to create an enabling environment for youth-ledMSMEs and start-ups to grow.
  1. Purpose of call for proposals

This call for proposals relates to the Business Development Services (BDS) operational focus area of the YEI MDTF. In this regard, the YEI MDTF is seeking project proposals from eligible grant recipients (see Section IV) (hereafter referred to as Enterprise Support Organizations (ESOs)) to provide business development services to youth-led MSMEs and start-ups on the African continent.

  1. Grant amount and funding envelope

The total funding envelope available for this call for proposals is USD 5 million. YEI MDTF is seeking project proposals for activities and programs with a minimum total budget of USD 500,000.

IV.       Eligible Grant Recipients

Eligible grant recipients (ESOs) are those organizations or entities that align with the following criteria:

  • Registered in an African country as a business development services provider, financial intermediary, philanthropic foundation, non-governmental organization (NGO), African government institution, or research or academic institution.
  • Minimum 3-year track record of providing business development services to youth-led MSMEs and start-ups on the African continent, including through training, coaching and mentoring services that reduce the risk of investing in them.
  • Minimum previous 3-years of audited organizational financial statements.
  • Demonstrably strong monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems in place.
  • Fiscal accountability and transparency in operations; having a Board of Directors, a full time finance manager and experience managing donor funded projects/programs.
  • Immediate access to large number of youth-led MSMEs and start-ups with at least 50% of these being led by women and at least 30% domiciled in countries of fragility and/or considered economic migration hotspot countries of origin (as per the list in appendix 1).
  • Eligible Grant Beneficiaries

ESOs shall be eligible to apply to YEI MDTF grant resources in support of youth-led MSMEs and start-ups accessible in their network. Targeted youth-led MSMEs and start-ups are defined as:


  • At least 51% owned by individuals aged between 15 and 35, in line with the JfYA Strategy and the African Youth Charter, or entire leadership of the business within the abovementioned age range.
  • Start-ups at ideation stage with proof of concept or minimum viable product (MVP) and business model that is promising in terms of social impact, inclusive job creation and national, social and economic development and transformation.
  • Lacking sufficient capacity and/or requisite collateral for accessing debt or equity financing from traditional commercial financial institutions.

VI.       Eligible Project Proposals

Applicants to this call for proposal may submit project proposals in accordance with the following:

Types of activities: (a) Business training; (b) Mentorship services; (c) Investment and BusinessPlan Development; (d) Legal Advisory Services; (e) Financial structuring; (f) Product Development; (g) Environmental and Social Impact Assessments; (h) Technical Support Services (e.g. standardisation, testing of goods, certification of products, quality management systems, environmental management systems, or information technology development), and (h) Access to Finance (i.e. including the onward provision of technical assistance grants to the end beneficiary(ies)).

Duration: Eligible projects or proposals must launch within 3 months of grant award signatureand be fully implemented within 12 months thereafter.

Location: Eligible projects or proposals must be implemented in more than one (1) country overthe implementation period and preferably cover at least two (2) regions in Africa.

VII.       Project Proposal Selection Guiding Principles

Compliance: ESOs and project proposals shall be considered only if found in alignment with YEIMDTF purpose and guidelines as well as the guidance provided within this call for proposals, including ESO eligibility and proper completion of the application form template and submission of required attachments.

Evidence-based: ESOs and project proposals shall be considered based onsubmitted impactreports and demonstrable record of accomplishment of implementation of similar services inthe past. The ESO proposal should leverage on the past experience and expertise to scale-up existing, large and impactful BDS programs for greater outreach to youth-led start-ups and MSMEs. New programs without a strong track record of success will not be considered at this time.

Gender: Particular attention will be paid to gender issues, especiallyensuring women’s equalaccess to resources and capacity building to enhance their participation in entrepreneurialactivities.

Fragile Country: Particular prioritization will be on projects and programs focused on eligiblebeneficiaries in countries in situations of fragility and/or considered economic migration hotspots, given the YEI MDTF objective to create inclusive growth through job creation.

Sustainability: Preference will be given to grant recipients with the capacity to provideyearlyupdates about program results with beneficiaries of BDS activities and long-term results (5years) from the monitoring of beneficiaries.

Co-financing: Counterpart financingof at least 50% is strongly encouraged to demonstrateproject ownership and financial sustainability by ESO and the capacity to attract financial support from several strategic partners.

VIII. Evaluation of Project Proposals  
  YEI MDTF reserves the right to reject applications that are found “non-eligible”.  
  Criterion Maximum
  Alignment with YEI MDTF (including JfYA strategy) 10
  Technical and Methodological Approach of Project Proposal for Providing  
  Business Development Services (including description, implementation plan, 30
  expected results and outcomes in terms of business growth, job creation, etc.)  
  Previous Track Record of Impact (including years of operation, quality, #of MSMEs  
  reached, #of countries covered, #of languages, impact on gender, #of SMEs still 20
  Experience and qualification of the ESO (including CVs/human resources, facilities,  
  technology/ICT, financial management and accounting tools, monitoring and evaluation 20
  tools, etc.)  
  Co-financing & Non-Financial Partnerships 10
  Quality of the Submission (including presentation and BDS innovation and creativity) 10
  Total   100


IX.       Application Procedures

Interested applicants are invited to submit a project proposal to YEI MDTF using the template in Appendix 2 of this document. Questions for clarifications may be sent via email at [email protected] with subject “ESO BDS Call for Proposals Questions”. Applications should also be submitted electronically in PDF format to [email protected] with subject “ESO BDS APPLICATION”. Project proposals can be submitted in either French or English, no later than Friday, 25 October 2019 at 11:59pm.

Date Action
25 September 2019 Launch of call for proposals
25 October 2019 Deadline for project proposal submission
1 November 2019 Initial screening of project proposals completed by the YEI
MDTF secretariat
    Screening of project proposals completed by the AfDB
15 November 2019 Technical Review Committee and/or YEI MDTF Oversight
    Committee completed
By 31st of Notification of final decision sent to applicants
December 2019 (conditionally approved or rejected)
Q1 2020 AfDB ESO due diligence mission conducted as condition
precedent to disbursement of the YEI MDTF grant

Click here to visit the website of Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund (YEI MDTF)

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