Ethiopian tops Africa’s World Bank AgTech insurance challenge

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  • The AgTech and Inclusive Insurance challenge received 208 applications from 23 countries across Africa.
  • The Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF) has facilitated approximately 11.5 million contracts, covering close to 58 million beneficiaries in approximately 30 developing countries.
  • The first place winner startup will receive financial support worth US$25,000.

A World Bank Group program, Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF), has announced the three top winners of the Africa AgTech and Inclusive Insurance Challenge 2022 in Africa.

  1. First Place Winner- Omishtu-Joy from Ethiopia

 

First place winner, Omishtu-Joy, in the AgTech and Inclusive Insurance challenge.

Omishtu-Joy is a joint venture tech startup of Debo Engineering and Melkam Technology that focuses on enhancing crop productivity by measuring soil PH, NPK, moisture, humidity, and temperature level. The first place winner startup will receive financial support worth US$25,000.

Omishtu-Joy is supported by an Artificial Intelligent system that matches crops to farmlands. Ethiopia’s economy solely depends on Agriculture (40 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, 80 per cent of exports and about 75 per cent of the country’s workforce).

Read: Living off the land in Africa digitally

The use of technology for development and improving farmer yield is 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 the end of 2022.

2. Second Place Winner- Rural Farmers Hub from Nigeria

Rural Farmers Hub from Nigeria scoops second place in the AgTech and Inclusive Insurance challenge.

Rural Farmers Hub will receive financial support worth US$15,000. It is a precision management solution for crop health and soil quality assessment created for small farmers, extensive plantations, and industrial out-growers.

Rural Farmers Hub provides intelligent maps to plan precise fixation of defects in soil and crops and develop various AI algorithms for agricultural application in Africa, showing how data can significantly impact the agriculture sector.

The company works with an extension worker network of over 200 members and have since reached over 25,000 smallholder farmers. They target ten vital corporate customers and an estimated 250,000 smallholder farmers within 24 months.

3. Third Place Winner- Kenya’s Agrotech+

Agrotech+ will obtain financial support of US$ 10,000. Their digital platform LendIt enables smallholder farmers to access digital services such as mobile money payments for commodities sold, micro-lending or 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.

Agrotech+ from Kenya scoops third place in the AgTech and Inclusive Insurance challenge 2022.

The three agricultural-based tech winners help solve complex social challenges through cutting-edge innovations and high potential entrepreneurship. They have shown the ability to scale, disrupt, and transform the sectors with promising ideas.

“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. We are very excited to support Africa’s young entrepreneurs through the Africa AgTech and Inclusive Insurance Challenge,” said James Smouse, Global Head of Insurance in IFC’s Financial Institutions Group.

“This was a great opportunity for startups 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.

Read: Africa: Post-pandemic future for tech startups looks bright

The challenge received 208 applications from 23 countries across Africa. Innovations included crop and livestock insurance products, innovative credit scoring technologies, crop and water stress detection technologies, among others.

According to Arielle Molino, the Vice President of Intellecap Africa and Lead Sankalp Africa, the challenge will help startups solve a real-time problem, creating a significant underlying impact. “We are excited to work with IFC and all the startups joining us in this journey to help identify innovative ideas that will benefit smallholder farmers across Africa,” she said.

Powered by Sankalp Forum, the Africa AgTech and Inclusive Insurance Challenge aim to celebrate and support young entrepreneurs working at the intersection of agriculture, insurance, climate, and gender to build resilience for rural populations.

The Africa AgTech and Inclusive Insurance Challenge offered an opportunity to the most promising enterprises to win various awards for a total of $50,000 across three categories (Data and 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.

What is the Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF) all about?

Through the Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF), the World Bank Group helps smallholder farmers and micro-entrepreneurs gain better access to finance, manage financial losses, and protect their livelihoods against increasingly frequent and severe weather events.

Since 2009, the GIIF has facilitated approximately 11.5 million contracts to develop effective and sustainable markets for agriculture insurance, covering close to 58 million beneficiaries in approximately 30 developing countries, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Read: Africa: UNICEF issuing US$100,000 to startups through cryptocurrencies

I am a journalist who is an enthusiastic tech, business and investment news writer from across Africa. There is always something good happening in Africa but most gets lost in the stereotypes. I tell the stories that matter to the Africans for Africa. Have a tip? You can contact me at j.kangethe@theexchange.africa

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