Weather affects everything. It is both an essential resource and a significant risk factor for life on Earth. What’s more, weather is one of the most unpredictable aspects of human existence, yet we have no choice but to try our hand at predicting it. After all, our very lives depend on our having ample supplies of foodstuffs that are themselves dependent on adequate precipitation, growing seasons and so forth. Weather is no small matter. Many businesses are directly or indirectly linked with weather conditions. For instance, agriculture relies on perfect weather forecasting for when to plant, irrigate and harvest.
Farmers are highly vulnerable to weather shocks, particularly in Africa, where there is a high reliance on rain-fed agriculture. It is therefore unsurprising that much attention has been paid to developing climate risk management tools for farmers to mitigate and transfer the risk of weather shocks such as drought and flood. Small farms are vulnerable to climate risk, but most smallholder farmers around the world don’t have access to insurance and other financial tools to manage fluctuations in climate.
Insurance is one way to increase resiliency to climate shocks, but not only in the way you might think. There’s a subtler benefit to agriculture insurance, and one that is essential for adapting our food systems to a changing climate: when farmers feel financially secure, they’re more likely to take productive risks. In the decades to come, we can expect increasingly difficult growing seasons for farmers, and so taking advantage of good years will become more and more important – for both our food supply and farmers’ livelihoods. In recent years, agricultural insurance has become part research Actuarial Science program, particularly weather index-based insurance (WII). The interesting aspect has been that, rather than compensating observed damage, compensation in WII is determined on the basis of an independent index (such as the cumulative precipitation falling in a certain window of time or the average yield over a district).
The agriculture insurance, called weather index insurance, will provide a way to fill the insurance gap by basing payouts on weather and satellite data instead of expensive site visits from claims adjusters. This will be an addition to already developed Livestock indexed based insurance by ILRI researchers. The indexed based crop insurance will protect farmers against financial risks posed by extreme weather events, and has been widely advocated as a tool to help farmer households to escape poverty traps and invest in climate-smart high-productivity agriculture. Over the past decade there has been great deal of effort placed into index insurance–that may have the potential to reach these farmers. Unlike more traditional forms of insurance, which require individual verification of losses, index insurance works by providing payouts when a measurable index flags a major problem that the farmers face, such as a widespread drought or flood. In theory, this should allow insurance coverage to reach many more farmers
Index insurance is innovative, but can it reach a critical mass using Satelitte data provided by TWIGA?
Transforming Weather Information Growth In Africa – TWIGA is a 4-year project (2018 – 2021) under EU Horizon2020 aimed to transform weather water data into value-added information services.
Satellite data provide by TWIGA will give index insurance the scaling power needed to reach all the small scale farmers across Africa.
A Kenyan Insurance sector stakeholders workshop will be held this first quarter of 2019 to address the challenges available in implementing weather indexed based insurance. The theme of the workshop will be: Index insurance is innovative, but can it reach a critical mass using Satelitte data provided by TWIGA? This could be the start of touching the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers across the African continent that are under threat from extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods with risks projected to increase significantly in future years due to climate change.
Developers require the ability to easily combine weather functionality, including forecast and observational data, with numerous data and application services to build advanced web and mobile applications that leverage cognitive capabilities, analytics, mobile and IoT services without wasting cycles installing or managing software and deploying hardware.
In conclusion, remotely sensed data can be used to extend weather index insurance to millions of farmers in Africa and beyond—potentially mitigating their exposure to climate-related risk. On the other hand, inappropriate use of these data could cause great harm. This workshop enabled key players in the weather index insurance industry to engage directly with data providers and scientists. As a result, data providers now have a clearer idea of the ways in which their products are being used. The insurance industry, moreover, has a better understanding of both the opportunities and pitfalls of using remotely sensed data. Following the success of this workshop, the participants agreed that deeper engagement between data providers, scientists, and the weather index insurance industry would be of benefit to all parties. Further workshops, projects, and collaborations are planned to focus on the intelligence and Analytics platform is powered by AI techniques that leverage real-time weather feeds and historical data. This will consider GIS analytics where the following will be the main focus: Live weather feeds from different locations (Latitude/Longitude); Temperature, water level, wind and other sensors continuously transmitting data; Historical weather data publicly available; Weather maps (precipitations, clouds, pressure, temperature, wind, weather stations).
The project aims to achieve the following benefits to the Kenya and Africa as a whole ;
- Farmers get warned earlier of what the weather will be like for that particular month.
- Help farmers to take appropriate precautions to stay safe in case of unwanted occurrences.
- With forecasting methods, farmers can get better outcomes with the help of accurate predictions. Hence farmers will be able to plan the planting as per water supplies.
Equity Bank has partnered with Strathmore University, @iLabAfrica Centre to train data scientists for the financial sector.
Data Science is helping in great ways for banks and financial institutions , including economic advisories to identify patterns in markets and predictions. Getting best use of data for their benefits . Banks have realized that big data technologies can help them focus their resources efficiently, make smarter decisions, and improve performance.
Banks and other finance companies has a lot of data. Data is not only the new oil, but it is the crude oil and Analytics is the refinery. The use of Data Science in banking is more than a trend. It has become a necessity to keep up with customer demands. They know customers, their details, purchase powers, purchase patterns and much more that is provided by the Big Data implosion. The Banks need skilled team that can handle not only Descriptive analytics, but also Diagnostic analytics, Predictive analytics and Prescriptive analytics.
There is great a need of Data scientist in Kenya’s financial sector. This is the reason Equity is leading the way in developing future data scientists. There will be 30 graduating students selected from Bachelor of Business Science – Actuarial Science, Financial Engineering and Financial Economics degrees in addition to IT students from Bachelor of Informatics and Computer Science. This was arrived since Data Scientist is someone with three key knowledge areas – Computing, Statistics and Business Domain
The students are currently attending introductory classes in Data science that has been going on for the last 18 months. The students will review statistics, logistic regression, Generalized models, cover specialized topics in data preparation, data visualization and introduction to Machine learning. At the end of the training, successful candidate will join Equity bank’s data science team.
This partnership is one among many that Stathmore University is working with various companies to fill the skill gap in Data Science. The University is also looking at launching a Masters in Data Science to give a chance to Kenyans to acquire data science skills.
A delegation of Ricoh Company Limited executives, including CEO Yoshinori Yamashita, met with @iLabAfrica department heads and director Joseph Sevilla on Wednesday 15th September to discuss partnership between Ricoh and @iLabAfrica.
Ricoh a Japanese imaging and electronics company with a worldwide influence on technology and industry visited @iLabAfrica to understand opportunities available in Kenya and Africa with the hopes of establishing a foundation for sustainable growth on the continent. The multinational has a worldwide workforce of approximately 97,000 employees and a turnover of over 2 billion Yen.
Part of Ricoh’s Sustainable Development Goals strategy is its policy of leveraging the strengths of manufacturing technology to make breakthroughs in technology and industry. A primary actuator of this endeavour is the company’s strong commitment to leading research and development across multiple markets around the world. Ricoh has technology and customer research groups in roughly 200 countries across the world and sees investment in Kenya as a gateway to connecting East, Central and South Africa to its expansive network.
Ricoh already has presence in the East African market through its ubiquitous imaging and printing devices, and through its partnership with The Copycat Limited—Ricoh’s authorised service provider in the region. The Copycat Limited is also a partner of @iLabAfrica and this connection made the meeting between Ricoh Co. Ltd and @iLabAfrica possible.
David Mills, CEO of Ricoh’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, expressed the company’s desire to digitise workspaces in Africa through partners such as The Copycat Limited. @iLabAfrica Director Joseph Sevilla pointed to the challenge-based learning programme that @iBizAfrica has recently launched. These programme is developed to have small teams of tech-centric entrepreneurs working on specific organisation challenges using the resources, networks and mentors that are available in the @iBizAfrica learning space.
A partnership between Ricoh and @iLabAfrica could assist entrepreneurs and developers, introduce novel solutions for the East African, Japanese, and global markets. Ricoh’s expertise in printing and imaging technology could be a springboard for innovations in 3D and textile printing such as the ongoing Fundamentals of IoT and 3D Printing Course run by @iBizAfrica in partnership with Kuunda 3D.
Standard Chartered in partnership with @iLabAfrica has launched a search for the second cohort of women-led technology startups which will see five entrepreneurs win Sh1 million each.
The program combines world class startup support with local and international experience to provide Africa’s most competitive and attractive startup incubation program focusing on immersive learning, mentorship, building and growing Africa’s next iconic startups taking on the continent’s most relevant challenges and opportunities.
- be a woman
- be the CEO with equal or majority ownership in the company
- 18 and above
- of Kenyan nationality
- Three months incubation at Strathmore University’s leading businss and innovation incubator
- Mentorship from world class mentors
- Coaching by top business, technology and legal professionals
- Immersive, world-class entrepreneurship curriculum
- Networking and exposure to expand your business networks
- USD 10,000 or KES 1,000,000 equity-free grant seed funding for the top 5 winners
- 9 months ongoing support from Standard Chartered and @iBizAfrica to assist with go-to market and scale.
- Participants must be physically available to attend the program over the three months incubation
- Participant accommodation costs are not catered for
|Application deadline||October 31|
For more information Click here
To Apply click here
Kids holiday boot camp – Developing the future
For the last two weeks @iLabAfrica has held a 2 week kids holiday boot camp for over 30 children from various schools around Kenya as they prepare to resume back to school.
The kids holiday bootcamp, in partnership with digikids, is a two week per school holiday training for children between the ages of 5 and 17 years old in Information Technology and related areas such as robotics and electronics, web design, and web security. The training is hosted by iLAB and based in Strathmore University.
With a rapid rise in the use of and development of technology, there is a corresponding need to gain an understanding in IT from a young age. Started in 2014, the programme sought to address this need and build basic skills and besides this, takes into consideration other factors such as the existing curriculum of the students in which they need more practice, skills or training as well as the need in existing job markets for an understanding of IT. The programme also provides an excellent background for those who wish to study IT further in university and creates a curiosity in IT and provides young children with a creative outlet to learn and develop their interests.
The training divides the children into three age grades, 5-9, 10-12 and 13-17 and teaches them based on their existing skill and knowledge while maintaining the same overall content. The younger students learn by pre-programmed mechanisms while the older students are encouraged to develop and design their own code and have a larger overall project that demonstrates their progress in the programme.
This holiday boot camp enables the students enjoy an enabling environment and are provided with ample computer time to pursue interests outside the curriculum, under the supervision of their instructors. Shiro, a class four student in the programme mentioned that she particularly enjoys the facilities and making new friends as she has an interest in learning how to create a webpage and advertise products as well as enable her to produce better schoolwork.
For more information on the course kindly visit www.ilabafrica.ac.ke or contact Sharon on Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone number: 0729876680
@iLabAfrica Research Centre, Strathmore University has partnered with Pangea an international startup support platform to pilot a US$ 50,000 accelerator program in Kenya.
The two organizations shortlisted 40 startups from a list of 400 applicants. The group of 40 startups are currently on a 3 month program being coached and trained by international and local investors and experts.
Through this partnership the startups are being assisted to get access to capital and networks that will enable them grow and scale up in their area of operations.
The 40 startups fall under different categories e.g. Fintech, fashion, agriculture etc. Each startup companies gets an opportunity to meet industry experts in their fields who share their experiences and expertise. The startups also connect with mentors who offer guidance on how to make it in the industry and help open doors for the young entrepreneurs.
“It is an amazing program for startups especially because they get to benefit from the training, coaching and mentoring sessions offered. It will help create an enabling environment, where entrepreneurs can develop competence, access relevant network, and capital in order to reach their full potential. We are really happy to be partners on this program and we look forward to working on more projects with Pangea to help startups in Kenya” Bernard Chira, @iBizAfrica Manager said.
Ahmed from Pangea also mentioned “We are really glad to have got a competent and resourceful partner such as @iBizAfrica. The learning environment is amazing and the incubation space which is available for startups under the program is really helpful. The coaches and mentors that have been offered by @iBizAfrica to help in the program have also played a major role in running it. We are glad that we got to work with @iBizAfrica and we look forward to future partnerships.”
Startups that have joined the Pangea accelerator program have the opportunity to benefit even more from the funding as Pangea is looking to launch its crowd investment platform in June 2018.
UAP-Old Mutual Group and Valuraha, a local company that operates at @iBizAfrica Incubation centre, based in Stathmore University. Valuraha promotes financial literacy, are set to kick off a student investment competition on Thursday. The two will organise a high school students’ investment competition that will take place at the Alliance Boys High School, Kiambu County.
The competition aims at creating investment awareness at an early age, which is an area of focus for UAP-Old Mutual.“We expect to start nurturing investments professionals at an early age in line with Old Mutual’s goal of imparting financial education, thus the need for the group to support the competition,” said UAP-Old Mutual unit trusts (Kenya) managing director Peter Ng’eno.
The competition is expected to attract close to 500 students with the top 15 students getting a combined Sh150,000.Investment professionals from UAP-Old Mutual Group and Strathmore University will be judges at the contest.
Valuraha, which has been promoting financial literacy in 10 schools, said it recently signed up another 23 schools to join the Valuraha club.UAP-Old Mutual Group was formed after Old Mutual and UAP merged their businesses in 2015. Old Mutual increased its shareholding in UAP to 60.66 per cent after buying stakes from private equity firms and Centum Investments.