GIIF’s Africa AgTech & Inclusive Insurance Challenge Awarded 3 Technology-driven Entrepreneurs

Agrotech+ from Kenya scoops third place in the AgTech and Inclusive Insurance challenge 2022
GIIF’s Africa AgTech & Inclusive Insurance Challenge Awarded 3 Technology-driven Entrepreneurs at the 2022 Sankalp Africa Summit

Nairobi, Kenya, March 8, 2022 – The Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF), launched a competition for technology-led enterprises in Africa to offer innovative solutions for agriculture and inclusive insurance and announced 3 top winners: Omishtu-Joy (Ethiopia), Rural Farmers Hub (Nigeria), and AgroTech+ (Kenya).

Powered by Sankalp Forum, the Africa AgTech & Inclusive Insurance Challenge aimed to celebrate and support young entrepreneurs who are working at the intersection of agriculture, insurance, climate, and gender to build resilience for rural populations. The Challenge offered an opportunity to the most promising enterprises to win various awards across three categories (Data & Analytics, Agricultural Productivity, and Financial Inclusion for Ag). Through participating in the Sankalp Africa Summit 2022, the top innovators are expected to gain exposure on investment readiness, network with potential impact investors and improve their business models. Collectively, this will make their innovations more competitive in future funding rounds.

“The role of technology and innovation will be critical to driving growth in underpenetrated financial and insurance sectors across Africa, where a young and growing pool of tech talent and a dramatic increase in digital connectivity will directly boost Africa’s economic value,” said James Smouse, Global Head of Insurance in IFC’s Financial Institutions Group.

The Challenge received 208+ applications from 25 countries across Africa. Innovations included crop and livestock insurance products, innovative credit scoring technologies, crop and water stress detection technologies, to name a few. The final selection of winners took place on March 3rd and was made by a grand jury that evaluated the five most promising innovations. 

“This is a great opportunity for start-ups in this space to collaborate with IFC and its partners and bring to the fore game-changing ideas that will contribute to the transformation of Africa’s agricultural sector,” said Fatou Assah, GIIF Program Manager.

Each of the 3 winners currently help solve complex social challenges through cutting edge innovations and high potential entrepreneurship, and have shown ability to scale, disrupt, and transform the sectors with their promising ideas.

Omishtu-Joy from Ethiopia is an agritech startup that develops hardware that measures soil PH, NPK, moisture, humidity, and temperature level, supported by an AI system that matches crops to farmlands. The use of technology for development coupled with the ability to improve farmer yield is yet another example of innovation and ingenuity in solving real problems. Omishtu-Joy today works directly with 5,500 farmers who use their device and is currently training an additional 4300 farmers. The company targets to onboard 18,000 more farmers by end of 2022.

Rural Farmers Hub from Nigeria collects and analyzes primary and secondary data from farmer groups and uses that data in e-extension and consulting services for smallholder farmers, showing how data can impact the agriculture sector significantly. They work with an extension worker network of over 200 members and has since reached over 25,000 smallholder farmers. The company targets 10 key corporate customers and an estimated 250,000 small-holder farmers within the next 24 months.

Agrotech+ from Kenya developed a digital platform LendIt enables small-holder farmers access digital services such mobile money payments for commodities sold, micro-lending/input financing, crop insurance and pension scheme for the informal sector. They have 6,800 registered smallholder farmers with 2,800 actively using the service and are currently training over 4,000 farmers using SSD technology.

Additionally, GIIF hosted 3 hybrid sessions at the Summit to discuss relevant topics for the regional agri-markets:

Disruptive Insurtech: What Next for Africa?

Tuesday, March 1st, 2022, 3:00-4:30 pm EAT// 07:00 am to 08:30 am US EST

Speakers: Anouk Aarts (Policy Advisor, Financial Sector Development, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs); Levan Shalamberidze (Senior Insurance Specialist, IFC); Jamie Smouse (Global Head of Insurance, IFC); Lara Mengarelli (Vice President, BlueOrchard); Fatou Assah (Program Manager, GIIF).

The Panel brought together a team of experts who shared their views and experience in insurtech, specifically:

• How insurtech is helping bridge the insurance and protection gap to address the economic development challenges faced by vulnerable households, farmers, and small businesses.
• Africa’s potential as an attractive growth market for investors as well as opportunities and challenges faced by insurtechs in Africa.
• How GIIF has been crowding-in insurtech products and services across several markets in the continent. 

De-risking Women Farmers Through Innovative Insurance

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022, 3:00-4:30 pm EAT// 7:00 am to 8:30 am US EST

Speakers: Rose Goslinga (Co-CEO and Co-Founder, PULA); Tuga Alaskary (Advisor, and Lead of the Centre of Excellence on Gender-smart Solutions, InsuResilience Global Partnership); Sarah Ebrahimi (Operations Officer for the Women's Insurance Program, IFC); Fatou Giwa (Women's Insurance Program Global Lead, IFC); Regina Kistler (Senior Policy Officer, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ); Emengini Doris Ibekwe (Moderator, GIIF).

This virtual session sought to improve the overall understanding of rural women farmers' limited access to agriculture and climate risk insurance, shared key insights on current work focusing on gender-smart, disaster risk, and finance solutions, and insurers' role in addressing these challenges.

Inclusive Insurance in Africa: Scaling Protection for the Missing Middle

Friday, March 4th, 2022, 3:00-4:30 pm EAT// 7:00 am to 8:30 am US EST

Speakers: Dr. Hassan Bashir (Executive Director, Agent for Inclusive Insurance Development); Isaac Magina (Head of Agriculture Underwriting and Marketing, African Reinsurance Corporation); Dr. Hassan Bashir (Executive Director, Agent for Inclusive Insurance Development); Anne Wangalachi (Moderator, GIIF).

The objective of the session is to discuss how Inclusive insurance is critical to financial inclusion, community stability and overall sustainable development, as it empowers individuals, families and MSMEs to make choices they would otherwise not be able to make.

Please click on the session's titles if you are interested in listeing the full virtual and in-person dialogues. With a big thank you to all the speakers, moderators, and organizers who made this event possible and successful.