Zambia Accelerator: Virtual Info & Matchmaking Session

Building on the success of the first Zambia Accelerator, Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) is launching an open call for Zambian agribusiness SMEs to apply to participate in the second cohort of the program.

We are holding a virtual info and matchmaking session to share information on the AICCRA Zambia Accelerator program, how the grant works, and to provide an opportunity for potential applicants to meet partners and learn about the four innovation bundles we're focusing on.

Playback the event


Launched in February 2022, the science-driven AICCRA Zambia Accelerator Program offers a win-win solution for SMEs and investors alike - showing how science can be used to catalyze finance into climate-smart agriculture for meaningful change.

AICCRA and partners have worked closely with an initial cohort of 14 Zambian agribusinesses. These were grouped into five innovation ‘bundles', each focused on a different value chains or challenge specific to Zambia’s agriculture:

Since its inception, the Accelerator program has seen: 

  • 306,000 farmers reached with climate information services (CIS) through several channels (field days, training, radios, SMS & TVs) 
  • Sustainable finance of off grid solar irrigation provided 110,000 smallholder farmers (20% women) with market information on obtaining inexpensive financing to invest in off-grid solar irrigation equipment in the face of climate change
  • Six dynamic aquaculture SMEs have assisted 45,154 farmers (36% women) in accessing climate-smart aquaculture technologies, such as designing fishponds for flood—or drought-prone areas, choosing fish species, timing harvests, and controlling water quality
  • In Eastern Zambia, a Climate Change Hotspot, 137,153 (56% women) smallholder farmers adopting agroforestry to improve farm yields, through a partnership with the COMACO social enterprise and Chitetezo Federation
  • Scaling climate inputs and agricultural practices bundle, reached 24,200 (30% women) farmers to access climate-smart seed varieties for groundnut, maize, and soybean value chains, as well as the use of plant catalyst products
  • Gender equity and social inclusion bundle reached 66,776 (85% women) smallholder farmers through engagements with farmers, including use of Harvesti platform
  • All first cohort of Accelerator partners equipped with skills to increase commercial capacity of portfolios, and to make portfolios investment-ready in coordination with Zambian financiers
  • USD 500,000 commitment from private investors leveraged - a 200% return on the original project funding

The Accelerator's distinctive approach involves combining both partnerships and innovations, creating synergies that amplify impact and foster sustainable development. This method not only accelerates the adoption of proven solutions but also strengthens collaborative networks and enhances the scalability of innovations while improving inclusivity and supporting environmental sustainability.

Scaling climate-smart innovations through a market-based approach, such as through the AICCRA Zambia Accelerator Program provides a de-risked and science-driven solution to make agriculture bankable and sustainable - thereby encouraging inclusive investments in the sector.


Accelerator Cohort 2.0 - Call for Applications

With additional financing for the AICCRA project from the World Bank, AICCRA Zambia is launching a call for applications for a second cohort of the Accelerator grant. 

Through this, we will co-fund new investments with the private sector to address development and business challenges related to scaling the developed climate-smart agriculture (CSA) technology packages. Scaling refers to expanding CSA innovations through a market system approach into more areas and more users.

To achieve these targets, the Accelerator program will contribute to de-risking private sector partners in scaling activities and identify suitable candidates through an open call for applications.

There will be one grant issued for each of the following innovation bundles (with gender, environmental and social inclusion (GESI) and digital agriculture technology incorporated in each bundle):



About the event

The call for applications will be introduced during a virtual info and matchmaking session on the 19 June and will remain open until the 19 July. 

During the session, we will:

- share on the AICCRA Zambia Accelerator program, how the grant works and the different innovation bundles that applicants can be matched to

- have breakout rooms according to each of the four innovation bundles to explain what the expectations are and for potential applications to ask any questions in order to decide what bundle to apply for

- explain the application process and address outstanding questions


Later that day, there will be an in-person, invitation-only event to formally launch the open call for applications at which stage the portal to apply will open.

About the Accelerator

What you need to know before applying for the Accelerator Program

Scope of work

AICCRA-Zambia seeks partnerships for agricultural technology and innovation adaptation and improvement, finance, and value chain development to accelerate the scaling of CSA/CIS bundles in Zambia. Proposing partnerships should present activities that can catalyze adoption while improving inclusivity and supporting environmental sustainability. Locally registered for-profit businesses and social enterprises are invited to contribute to an application. We encourage proposals that include multiple components and present a cohesive market systems approach. 

The activities are expected to include:  

  • Implement, scale, and refine market-system based solutions
  • Implement, scale, and refine sustainable finance mechanism(s)
  • Contribute to data and information collection
  • Participate in a multi-stakeholder dialogue on scaling solar-powered irrigation
  • Contribute to capacity development of producers, young professionals, and/or scientists in relevant topics directly related to activity



  • Experience working in Zambia, including with producers and other market actors, development partners, non-governmental organizations and government agencies and organizations. 
  • For-profit business with at least one year of experience in Zambia with demonstrated commercial viability and relevant experience in the technical areas proposed in the application, and legally able to perform work in the country with relevant permits, documents etc. Non-government organisations, consultancy and non-profit entities will not be considered.  
  • At least two partners - implementing partners and other organizations may be included in a consortium such as other commercial businesses, farmer cooperatives, consulting firms, and/or business/member associations.
  • Should have a digital agriculture technology component.
  • Personnel with relevant experience and qualifications to implement the proposed scope of work.
  • Proposed partnership of at least 24 months and up to an end date on or before 30 December 2025. 

Women-led agribusinesses are strongly encouraged to apply.


Other considerations

AICCRA Zambia will conduct due diligence on selected applicants. The due diligence process includes reference checks; a pre-award survey to ensure successful applicants have the organizational, managerial and financial systems and controls in place to manage the award; and virtual meetings to evaluate the proposed strategy and verify the potential impact proposed.

Prior experience with World Bank, CGIAR or CGIAR research centers is not required. However, if the applicant has received donor funding in the past or has a proposal pending, details and purpose of such funding should be noted in the application. Failure to disclose this information will result in disqualification.

Applicants are required to propose leveraged funding in their cost proposals. AICCRA Zambia reserves the right to negotiate the final proportion with successful applicants during negotiations. Funds from government-supported programs cannot count towards leverage. Proposed contributions must be appropriate, relevant to the proposed activity, and will be carefully considered during the evaluation of applications.

The following activities are not eligible for funding: 

  • Pure academic research 
  • Equipment procurement - we strongly discourage proposals that merely seek to import and distribute equipment into project countries
  • Non-profit or non-governmental irrigation scheme development or rehabilitation
  • Agricultural commodity procurement

Successful applications will be announced in August 2024.

The proposed projects are anticipated to begin in September 2024 and continue until December 2025. Proposals must deliver a commercially sustainable business case for the involved partners that has the potential to run beyond the end of the project period.

Applicants can submit questions through July 15th, 2024, to or +260 963 828438 (WhatsApp).


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