Call for Innovation

The first call for innovation was launched on February 28 2020 and was concluded with a Demo Day on November 18 2020. The process for running the 2020 Call for Innovation is described below.

The Challenge

This Call for Innovation seeks to identify innovative and feasible solutions to fight coastal erosion and flooding issues associated with the ongoing development of large commercial ports and maritime operations in West Africa, mainly for Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, and Togo, but with also an outlook for the rest of the countries in West Africa. In most cases, existing ports were built with limited planning and considerations of potential exacerbation of coastal erosion. The significant threat is that this shortcoming is also occurring for designing and constructing new ports.

The scope is to identify innovations that allow to avoid, mitigate, and remediate the geomorphological and ecological impacts (i.e. coastal erosion and decline in marine ecology) associated with existing and planned commercial ports in West Africa. Proposed solutions will need to be innovative, feasible and sustainable, and may include: infrastructures to be implemented along the coast to control erosion from existing and planned new ports; infrastructures to be implemented at existing and planned new ports and lagoon systems to control water flows and sediment loads; operation and maintenance practices for existing and planned new ports; Public Private Partnerships (PPP) business models and contracting options for existing and planned new ports.


The World Bank Group launched a Call for Innovation under the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA) on Febuary 28th. More specifically, the call is part of the ongoing WACA Resilience Investment Project (WACA ResIP), a multi-country regional project that aims to support present assets and strengthen the resilience of coastal communities for Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, and Togo. These six countries, covering approximately 2,200 km of coastline, have particularly vulnerable coastal areas due to erosion, flooding, and pollution, but they also have a will to properly address the unwanted consequences. The WACA Program supported these countries to develop a multi-sectoral investment planning processes, culminating in WACA Multi Sector Investment Plans (MSIPs) available on the country-pages of this website.

This Call for Innovation focuses on the issue of coastal degradation in West Africa, and in particular, addresses the impact of large commercial ports on sediment movement and coastal erosion. This Call for Innovation concerns innovative solutions for the afore-mentioned six countries as a start and may extend it to all of the 17 coastal countries that will be part of the program at a later stage. The scale and the complexity of coastal issues require an inter-disciplinary and regional approach and a level of financing and support involving many stakeholders and partners. The aim of the call is to find innovative yet feasible solutions for coastal degradation. 

Understandably, innovative solutions are often associated with technical and financial feasibility challenges. While it is important for applicants to keep this in mind, it should not discourage them from presenting very ambitious or very simple ideas. Furthermore, while the call focuses on six countries, all proposals will have to keep an integrated approach in mind and take into account the potential impact of proposed solutions on neighboring countries. 

Below are some useful links providing relevant background information:

Who May Apply?

Participants could be a single entity,  a single individual, or a consortium made of more entities or individuals. To be eligible, an entity must be an university (public or private), a research organization (public or private), a private enterprise (i.e. an engineering firm, a construction firm, or a consulting group), or a non-profit organization (i.e. an NGO, a charity, or a social enterprise); an individual can be a university student, or single consultant).

An entity or individual can submit one application only. Therefore, an entity or individual that has already submitted a proposal, either alone or as part of a consortium, cannot submit another proposal (either alone or as part of another consortium). To apply, fill out all required sections on the application page that will become live on June 1. You may save your draft application if you need more time to complete the process and submit it when ready by July 1, 2020 (11:59pm US Eastern Standard Time).

    Technical Specification

    A demonstrated passion and interest in building resilience is a key ingredient to any successful application. All proposals need to address in an innovative and sustainable manner the issue of coastal erosion associated with existing and planned port infrastructures and operations in West Africa, in particular in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, and Togo. Proposed solutions may be focusing on an issue at regional level, tackle the challenges at national level, or even be applicable to all six countries. If a regional solution is chosen, it would be advantageous to explain how this could be scalable and potentially have some implications also at national level, or even for all interested countries, and show a clear path to ultimately be financed and operationalized on-the-ground.

    Proposed solutions and business models will have to demonstrate a good understanding of West Africa’s coastal situation, including climate resilience, port infrastructures and operations and environmental issues associated with coastal processes, and present a strategy that would allow to address the issues of coastal erosion in a more sustainable manner.

    This Call for Innovation aims to bridge the gap between innovators and port developers/owners to build sustainable and integrated costal management. Participants are requested to submit a proposal for one of the four thematic challenges listed below and for which WACA is looking for innovations. Participants need to clearly indicate in their application which of the four thematic challenges they have chosen to address. Applicants are encouraged to focus on one solution at the time. Proposal addressing two, three, or all four thematic challenges are allowed. However, proposed solutions will have to be clearly separated by thematic area.

    The Call for Innovation is open to proposals around the following four thematic challenges:

    • Thematic Challenge 1. Which type of infrastructure (green, grey, or a combination of both) could be put in place to manage the impact of port development and port management on sediment movements which lead to unwanted coastal erosion? 
    • Thematic Challenge 2. Which planning measures and port and lagoon operation management practices could be taken upstream to reduce environmental impacts, coastal erosion and lagoon/canal water quality and flow management in particular?
    • Thematic Challenge 3. What new features of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) (i.e. Government Funding, Corporate or On-Balance Sheet Finance, Project Finance), business models, and contracting options could be proposed to take sustainability into account in the design and management of maritime transport related infrastructures? 
    • Thematic Challenge 4. What are examples of good global practices in ports and lagoons management and successful case studies that could be proposed to West African countries to better manage the cumulative environmental impact of existing port operations and predict consequences of future infrastructures?

    Timelines and Deadlines



    Launch of the Innovation Call.

    February 28, 2020

    Opening of submission’s portal (22 business days before submission deadline).

    End of Q&A session

    June 1, 2020

    June 22, 2020

    Deadline for submitting EOIs and call closure.

    July 1, 2020

    Notification to longlisted candidates and request to submit Detailed Proposals.

    End of Detailed Proposal Q&A session

    August 3, 2020

    August 25, 2020

    Deadline for longlisted candidates to submit requested Detailed Proposals (20 business days after notification).

    September 3, 2020

    Notification to top 5 shortlisted candidates and announcement on the WACA website.

    October 2, 2020

    Deadline for each shortlisted idea to submit their draft 5-slides presentations and start of the coaching period (13 business days after notification).

    Deadline for completing presentation, and end of coaching period.

    October 21, 2020


    October 30, 2020

    Demo-Day in DC where shortlisted competitors will present their pitches, and Winner selection by the Jury of top-3 ideas.

    November 17, 2020 (Closed)

    November 18, 2020 (Open)

    Benefits and Rewards

    This is a three-stage competition where the top 10, 5, and 3 proposals will receive different degrees of visibility and recognition, which will be tailored depending on the type and content of their proposals. In particular:

    • The top-10 Longlisted competitors will see a summary description of their proposals in a WACA Innovation Book at the end of the competition;
    • The top-5 Shortlisted competitors will be invited to present their proposal to a Demo Day, a live and virtual audience of World Bank Managers, Partners, and Investors which is planned on November 11, 2020.Their proposals will also be presented in the WACA Innovation Book.
    • The top-3 Winners will be invited after the Demo Day to individual follow-up meetings with the World Bank, in view of having their ideas pitched at an upcoming WACA Marketplace and receive additional media coverage.
    • The top-3 winners will present their idea at a global event hosted by the World Bank and participate in follow-up meetings with World Bank experts in view of having their ideas pitched at the WACA Marketplace. Top-3 winners are also eligible to receive monetary prices, for a value up to US$50,000, the details of which will be announced on the WACA website prior to the submission deadline.

    Ranking Criteria

    Submitted proposals will be screened in three different phases where they will be ranked according to the information requested and the following criteria:

    Longlisted selection

    The World Bank Group reviewers will assess the compliance (pass/no-pass) of received proposals against the requirements for Parts A-E and undertake a quantitative assessment (has met; partially met; exceeded and not met) of Part B (Description of applicants). The rating will be based on the following: 

    • Information showing that they are qualified in the field of the assignment;
    • Information on the technical and managerial capabilities of the applicants;
    • Information on their core activities/business and years in operation; and
    • Information on the qualifications of key people that worked on this proposal.

    The reviewer will also highlight strengths and weaknesses of each proposal, focusing on the following:

    • Situation analysis (i.e. higher points to proposals that better assess current situation);
    • Feasibility challenges (i.e. higher points to proposals that better optimize or effectively enhance the existing infrastructures instead of building new ones);
    • Financing mechanisms (i.e. higher points to proposals that better assess typical PPP financing mechanisms and suggest new ones).

    Based on the scoring received, the top-10 proposals will be longlisted and will be asked to submit additional details.

    Shortlisted selection

    A Panel of international experts will rate the longlisted proposals (in the range of 1 to 10). More details on the selection criteria for the shortlist will be disclosed at that stage of the competition. Based on the scoring received, the top-5 proposals will be shortlisted and will be asked to prepare a five-slides presentation.

    Winners selection

    During the Demo Day, a Jury, made up of international experts different from the Panel, will rate the presentations submitted by the five shortlisted applicants and their pitches. Criteria for the selection of the winners will be disclosed prior to the Demo- day. 

    Based on the scoring, the top-3 winners will be selected. 

    How To Apply

    To apply, fill out all required sections on the application page that will become live on June 1. Once you create your own profile you will be able to access the form and fill out the required sections. You may save your draft application if you need more time to complete the process and submit it when ready by July 1, 2020 (11:59pm US Eastern Standard time).


    Part A: Description of the applicant

    Please provide the following information:

    • Name of lead organization;
    • Contact details of lead organization (telephone and email address);
    • If consortium, name of other partners.

    Please note that organization can only be part of ONE application.

    Part B:  Description of organization/s details

    Please summarize in a maximum of 300 words and attach file (maximum 30 page and file size 10 MB).
    Describe the organization/s details, including core business areas, personnel and key CVs and include:

    • information showing that they are qualified in the field of the assignment;
    • information on the technical and managerial capabilities of the innovator/s;
    • information on their core business/activity and years in business/activity; and
    • information on the qualifications of key team members/staff that worked on this proposal.

    Part C. Description of relevant past project/s

    Please summarize in a maximum of 300 words and attach file (maximum 10 page and file size 5 MB). The information should include:

    • information showing the relevance of the presented past projects to West Africa, if applicable;
    • information describing the implementation of the presented past projects, if applicable; and
    • information describing the impact of the presented past projects, if applicable.

    Part D: Description of proposed innovation/s for one or more of the four thematic challenges

    Please choose between one and four thematic challenges below, summarize in a maximum of 300 words and attach file (maximum file size 5 MB and maximum number of pages based on how many challenges you choose to address: maximum 3 pages for one challenge, maximum 6 pages for two challenges, maximum 9 pages for three challenges, and maximum 12 pages for all four thematic challenges).

    Describe the concept idea for the proposed innovation/s, clearly separated by chosen thematic challenge/s. Please note that no details and cost estimates are required for this step.

    • Thematic Challenge 1. Information on proposed infrastructures;
    • Thematic Challenge 2. Information on proposed planning measures and port and lagoon operation management practices;
    • Thematic Challenge 3. Information on proposed features of Public Private Partnerships (PPP), business models, and contracting options;
    • Thematic Challenge 4. Examples of good global practices in ports and lagoons management and successful case studies that could be proposed to West African countries.

    Part E. Presentation of the team and innovation/s by video
    Please upload video of 2 to maximum 3 minutes on YouTube, make sure it is private and include the link in your application email.

    When trying to sign in Waca Call for Innovation page and you see the message "We can't seem to find your account" . Please follow the instructions below:

    WACA Instructions

    Additional Questions and Answers

    Applicants will have an opportunity to ask direct questions to the WACA team up to June 22, 2020 (11:59pm US Eastern Standard time), by sending an email to Questions which may be applicable to all applicants will be posted, together with the answers, on the Call for Innovation page of WACA website. Applicants are therefore encouraged to look at this page on a regular basis.

      Next Steps

      If your project is longlisted, you will be notified and asked to provide a Detailed Proposal describing in more details your innovative solution/s for each of the thematic challenges you have chosen in your EOI. A maximum of 10 pages is allowed per thematic challenge. This means that you may have a Detailed Proposal of up to 10 pages if one challenge was chosen, and a maximum of 20, 30, and 40 pages if in your EOI you decided to address 2, 3, and 4 thematic challenges respectively. 

      Your detailed proposal may include one or more of the following information, depending on the thematic area/s you have chosen:

      • Suggested type of infrastructure that could be put in place;
      • Suggested infrastructure planning measures and port and lagoons operation management practices;
      • Suggested new features of Public Private Partnerships (PPP), business models, and contracting options;
      • Suggested examples of good global practices in ports and lagoons management and successful case studies that could be proposed to West African countries;
      • A very high-level estimate of what it would cost to implement the proposed solution;
      • A preliminary Social Impact Assessment;
      • A preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment.

      If your project is shortlisted, you will need to submit a 5-slides summary presentation (you will receive a WBG template), which will be provided to the Jury before the Demo Day, and which you will use to pitch your ideas in person at the Demo Day.  Once you submit your presentation the WBG team may request additional information and coach you. You will then need to present your presentation physically at the Demo Day which will be held in Washington DC on November 11, 2020, and which will also be broadcasted live via the WACA website. You will have a 10/15-minutes session for pitching your idea to the Jury, followed by 15-minutes open session for question and answers.

      Submit Detailed Proposals


      Top 3 Winners:

      • 1st Place: WAC-APP: App to Explore the Impacts of Coastal Interventions by HKV-UNESCO-DELFT Institute.
      • 2nd Place: Trans-Sand: Transnational Bypass Scheme Funded by a Public-Private Dredging Fund by Egis-Deltares-Financeforimpact.
      • 3rd Place: SA-POD: Systems Approach for Port Development by WITTEVEEN, CDR, BOSKALIS, PENAF, WETLANDS.


      The presentations of the top three solutions will be shared soon...

        Demo Day

        Top 5 - Shortlisted Solutions

        Selection Process

        Two phases were developed for the Call for Innovation selection process

        Phase 1longlisting of top twelve candidates

        For the first phase candidates were to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to describe their team and their proposed solution/s. An application portal was launched on June 1, 2020 on WACA website and remained open until July 1, 2020.

        From that phase, 22 Expression of Interests were submitted by the agreed deadline. The Innovation Engineer, with support from the WACA team, assessed the compliance of the proposals format and provided comments on the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal, based on the following criteria: situation analysis (i.e. how well the proposal assessed the current situation); feasibility challenges (i.e. how well the proposal optimizes or effectively enhances the existing infrastructures instead of building new ones); financing mechanisms (i.e. who well the proposal assesses typical PPP financing mechanisms and suggests new ones).

        Using this method, 12 candidates were selected and notified on August 6, 2020. The top-12 longlisted candidates were then asked to submit their detailed proposals.  

        Phase 2: shortlisting of top five finalists

        All detailed proposals from the 12 longlisted candidates were received via the dedicated portal on WACA website, which remained open until September 3, 2020. The aim of the detailed proposal was to describe in more detail the innovative solution/s for each of the thematic challenges chosen in the EOI.

        A Panel of internal reviewers to the World Bank was appointed to review the received detailed proposals as well as the information submitted for the first phase. The review process was based on the following criteria:

        • Innovation: the solution devised is unique, innovative and/or patentable;
        • Feasibility: the solution is feasible in the context of port and lagoon operations and demonstrates clear value proposition of solving the identified problem/s, with a real likelihood to succeed;
        • Adaptability to national context: the solution could be implemented and replicated in the context of WACA countries (both physical and feasibility, but also financial and O&M);
        • Impact: the solution has a clear measurable impact on eruption (improvement of sediment disruption and reducing coastal erosion);
        • Co-benefits: the solution presents additional benefits including environmental and socioeconomic;
        • Implementation readiness: the solution demonstrates viability in developing or emerging countries and the capacity to be deployed within the next 3-5 years.

        The proposals with the highest-ranking were then identified by adding the results from the individual reviewers and sorting the total scores. Following discussions with the WACA team and the reviewers, the top 5 finalists were selected.

        The finalists were directly notified on October 19, 2020 and were asked to prepare a 5-slides presentation for the Demo Day. The five finalists will present their ideas on November 17, 2020 in front of a Jury, during a closed-door event. The Jury is made up of internal staff (World Bank directors) and external experts (investors and partners). The finalists will also deliver a lightening pitch at the Demo Day, an open event planned for November 18, 2020. During the event, the Jury will have a chance to review their rating and announce the 3 winners

        Top 5 - Shortlisted Solutions

        1. Trans-Sand: a transnational by-passing scheme funded by a public- private dredging fund
        2. Wac-app: explore impacts of coastal interventions
        3. Besand: the blue energy sand-bypass system
        4. Coastalprotect Africa: multi-purpose technology for an integrated solution to coastal erosion and sediment management for west africa
        5. Sa-Pod: systems approach for port development

        Thank you for contacting us. We will reach out to you soon.

        Les frontières, les couleurs, les dénominations et toute autre information figurant sur cette carte n'impliquent, de la part du Groupe de la Banque mondiale, aucun jugement sur le statut juridique d'un territoire, ni aucune approbation ou acceptation de ces frontières.