Enterprise Zambia Challenge Fund (EZCF) is part of the European Union Zambia’s ABSO programme to support increased participation of smallholder farmers in market-integrated, nutrition-sensitive value chains and improved access to finance, services and inputs as well as investment opportunities. Self Help Africa and Imani Development are the fund managers of the programme, which is a five-year initiative investing EUR 26m in the agricultural sector of Zambia. 


EZCF runs over three calls for proposals, with the overall programme covering approximately 60 months. The call for proposals is open until end of 2021. 



AKCF aims to award EUR 26 million to 35-45 agri-enterprises. The grant size is within the range of EUR 200k and EUR 1m. Grant funding can cover a maximum of 50% of the total value of the proposal. The balance must be financed by the applicant from matching funds in the form of cash/cash equivalents, credit or equity from external financers. 


Project focus 

The fund targets to integrate 150,000 smallholder farmers (of which 40-60% women and 20-40% youth) in sustainable value chains. The programme also aims to create 8,500 full-time equivalent jobs and achieve that 105,000 farmer households are under climate-smart land management practices. 


Eligible applicants 

Applicants must be duly incorporated in Zambia as a for-profit entity (a company or a cooperative) and must have at least three years of uninterrupted operations. Applicants must have a minimum yearly turnover of EUR 200,000, as evidence by audited accounts. For additional eligibility criteria, please contact Advance Consulting. 



Selection follows a two-stage procedure: 


  • Stage one: concept note
  • Stage two: full proposal, subject to positive evaluation of the concept note


Why work with Advance Consulting?

Advance Consulting has successfully assisted companies in the past to develop winning proposals for a similar programme in Kenya. Contact info@advanceconsulting.nl for further information on the EZCF programme or for support to develop a winning proposal. Please note that Advance Consulting is not affiliated with the programme sponsor (European Union) or the granting organizations (Self Help Africa and Imani Development).