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$150,000 to Be Won in the World Bank’s WURI West Africa Prize

The World Bank is currently accepting entries for its WURI International Prize. The program is seeking innovative ways to provide social safety nets for people who run businesses in West Africa’s informal sector.

Cash prizes totalling $150,000 will be awarded to winning teams. They will also get mentorship and support from Google Developer Experts.

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The prize is aimed at solving a widespread problem in African countries: the lack of access to adequate insurance, pensions, and savings accounts for large segments of the local population. These segments are located in the informal sector and consist largely of women running MSMEs.

In many cases, these people are not captured by existing socioeconomic programs, often because they are deemed ‘not poor enough’. It’s populations like this that the World Bank’s West Africa Unique Identification for Regional Integration and Inclusion (WURI) targets. It is enabling foundational identification and cash transfers to vulnerable groups that have previously not been captured by similar programs.

Individuals and organizations that possess tech-based solutions for extending support to these groups are invited to apply for the WURI Prize.

Find our comprehensive listings of businesses in Nigeria here

Required Features of the Solution

If you are interested in entering for this prize, your solution should be:

  • A digital platform that enables government-to-person payments, and operates on a system not based on evidence of a formal employment contract.
  • Function in a way that encourages continuous contributions to a social insurance scheme, and incentivizes savings.
  • Simple to use, regardless of the users’ literacy level.
  • Based on an identification system that allows tracking across borders and throughout the West African region.

WURI Prize Timeline

Solutions will be accepted until Friday, August 14, 2020. The submissions will be reviewed by a panel of experts in social protection and digital identification.  Selected finalists will receive mentorship from Google Developer Experts, and then pitch their solutions at a World Bank Mission Billion event in October 2020.

Winning teams will receive cash prizes totalling $150,000.

To enter for the World Bank’s WURI West Africa Prize, click here.



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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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