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20 April 2022

Call for Proposals: “Promoting Sustainable Digital Entrepreneurship in Francophone West and Central Africa”

This study will be conducted in French. Please find the French version here.


As part of the research project Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Global Digital Transformation (SET),  the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) is commissioning a study that aims to promote sustainable digital entrepreneurship in Benin and in Francophone West and Central Africa more broadly. 

About the Project 

Funded by the Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the SET research project has the goal of addressing issues relating to digitalisation, particularly in the Global South. With a focus on the topics of entrepreneurship, platform regulation, and the use of digitalisation for climate resiliency, the project works closely with local stakeholders to build application-oriented expertise and to create an international knowledge community.

About the Study 

The study will focus on the contextual (e.g., institutional, social, and technological) barriers to sustainable digital entrepreneurship in Benin. Moreover, the study will identify strategies and tactics entrepreneurs can use to navigate these challenges. It will involve conducting interviews with (aspiring) entrepreneurs and potentially other relevant stakeholders, such as VCs and government representatives. Access to interview participants will be facilitated by GIZ and local partners, especially the Ministry of Digital Technology and Digitalization of Benin. However, having existing local networks would be beneficial. Depending on data access, the study could focus on one or several green tech sectors, such as agriculture, energy, transport, and circular economy. The decision in regard to the exact sectors will be made in close collaboration with the Ministry of Digital Technology and Digitalization of Benin in order to ensure good access to data and to deliver a sustainable added value for Benin and other Francophone West and Central African countries associated with the SET project. It will conclude with policy recommendations to promote sustainable digital entrepreneurship in Benin and in Francophone West and Central Africa more broadly. 

In addition to conducting the study, the research team should ideally participate at a stakeholder dialogue in Benin in the first week of July 2022 (exact date to be confirmed). The stakeholder dialogue will be thematically closely linked to the study and focus on promoting sustainable digital entrepreneurship in Benin and beyond. Ideally, the dialogue will be an opportunity for the research team to identify and connect to relevant stakeholders and recruit relevant interview participants for the study.  

Study goals and objectives:

  • Provide a review of the extant literature on (sustainable) digital entrepreneurship, with a focus on Francophone West and Central Africa
  • Conduct interviews with (aspiring) entrepreneurs and other relevant stakeholders such as VCs and government representatives. Data collection should enable the research team to conduct an in–depth analysis in regard to challenges of entrepreneurs. The research team will collaborate closely with the Ministry of Digital Technology and Digitalisation of Benin in order to ensure access to interview participants and to deliver a sustainable value for Benin and the region 
  • Identify contextual barriers and challenges of sustainable digital entrepreneurship in Benin 
  • Identify strategies and tactics entrepreneurs use to overcome barriers and navigate challenges 
  • Offer concrete recommendations for policy making based on the insights of the study and prior research
  • Compare and contrast insights from the empirical research in Benin with insights from prior studies and discuss their transferability to other countries in Francophone West and Central Africa
  • Write an executive summary, summarising the results of the study in English
  • Write a blogpost in English summarising the results for the HIIG’s Digital Society Blog

Eligibility and Requirements

Interested applicants should meet the following criteria: 

  • Appropriate academic qualifications
  • Excellent writing skills 
  • Experience in conducting qualitative research (e.g., interviews)
  • Expertise in the field of digital entrepreneurship  
  • Familiarity with the local context (ideally experience with conducting research in West Africa) 
  • Proficiency in French and English is mandatory (fieldwork will require conducting interviews in French)
  • Ability to attend the multi-stakeholder dialogue in Benin beginning of July 2022 (exact date to be confirmed)  

General Information 

  • Budget: EUR 16,000 (gross) + possible additional compensation of travel cost for the Stakeholder Dialogue 
  • Scope of the study: maximum 15,000 words 
  • Study should be written in French
  • Timeframe for conducting the study: July to November 2022 
  • Mid-term report on the current state of research up to September 2022
  • Final feedback loop after editorial and academic review

All interested applicants are invited to submit their proposal (maximum two pages) and a short curriculum vitae with the form below by Sunday, 8 May 2022. For questions please contact Marie Blüml ( Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the selection process latest by the end of May 2022.

This post represents the view of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of the institute itself. For more information about the topics of these articles and associated research projects, please contact

Marie Blüml

Researcher: Digitalisation, Entrepreneurship & Climate

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