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Lami, Kenya-based Insurtech secures $1.8 million to accelerate digital insurance in Africa

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Lami team and press release (Source: Eva Barasa/Lami Tech/medium)

Lami Technologies, a Kenyan insurance technology (insurtech) company that aims to democratize insurance products and services for low-income Kenyans, announced today it had raised $1.8 million in seed funding.

The round was led by Accion Venture Lab’s seed-stage investment initiative that provides capital and extensive support to innovative fintech startups that improve the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved.

Founded by Jihan Abass in 2018, Lami is a digital insurance platform that enables partner businesses — including banks, tech companies, and other entities to easily and seamlessly offer digital insurance products to their users via its API. Lami can also be used by partner businesses to manage their own insurance needs. Lami connects partner organizations, such as the e-commerce platform Jumia, with underwriters and allows them to offer a superior customer journey. Through its API, users can get a quotation for motor, medical, or other tailored insurance products in seconds, then customize the benefits and adjust the premium to suit their needs, get their policy documents instantly, and claims are paid in record time.

Lami’s services are enabled by its flexible insurance rating engine and direct integration with several parties and insurance companies. Lami co-designs innovative products with its underwriting partners to enable businesses to offer unique insurance products to their underlying customer base, with flexible options that meet their needs and cash flows, such as monthly medical policies for startup employees.

Jihan Abass, CEO & Founder of Lami (Source: Eva Barasa/Lami Tech/medium)

Jihan Abass, CEO, Lami, said: “This funding will allow us to invest in hiring more people, improving our technology, and growing our presence across Africa as we can continue to address the persistent insurance gap. At Lami, our vision is to help improve the financial resilience of millions by making insurance products more accessible and affordable for underserved populations. By enabling our business partners to offer customized insurance solutions, we are helping them provide more value to their customers while enabling large volumes of users to access insurance, often for the first time.”

Africa’s insurance market currently stands at a 3 percent penetration rate, except for South Africa, and is facing modernization and innovation challenges. Most insurance providers on the continent fail to offer flexible, affordable and tailored insurance coverage to provide a safety net for the African consumer. Low insurance uptake is partly due to the traditional distribution and administration of policies, mainly relying on brick-and-mortar channels where policies are sold and processed manually. This results in a longer processing cycle, poor customer satisfaction, and higher distribution costs.

Lami’s digital insurance platform leverages cloud computing, automation, and third-party service providers such as emergency and valuation, or identity and asset verification databases, to offer a comprehensive ecosystem for the businesses they partner with to develop, distribute and manage highly streamlined and competitive insurance products that are designed to meet their customers’ needs.

Since its inception, the insurtech startup has sold more than 5,000 policies and has partnered with more than 25 active underwriters, including Britam, Pioneer, and Madison Insurance, distributing more than 30 products available including medical, motor, employee benefits, and device insurance. As an innovator in the digital insurance space, Lami aims to continue diversifying its business by looking for new partners and building on its core technology.

Michael Schlein, President and CEO, Accion Venture Lab, said: “Ninety-seven percent of Africans lack access to insurance — a financial safety net that can help them build resilience against economic shocks. Lami helps address this need for consumers across Africa through its innovative approach that leverages technology and partnerships to help any business develop and sell insurance.”

“At Accion Venture Lab, we’re excited by how Lami is using technology to create a pathway for customers to purchase insurance that is specific to their needs. By embedding customized insurance within businesses that customers know and trust, Lami is making insurance accessible for underserved populations in Africa and enabling them to build financial resilience. “said Ashley Lewis, Africa Director, Accion Venture Lab

This investment highlights the strong commitment of all organizations to ensuring that financial services are made accessible and affordable for the underserved.

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Press Release

Africa50 appoints Tshepidi Moremong as Chief Operating Officer

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Africa50 incoming COO, Tshepidi Moremong (Source: Facebook)

Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Tshepidi Moremong as Chief Operating Officer. Her appointment takes effect from July 1, 2021. She will lead a multi-disciplinary team including Fundraising, Investor Relations, Strategy, Human Resources and Administration, Communications, and Environmental and Social Governance.

Ms. Moremong is a seasoned senior executive with more than twenty-two years experience delivering strategic leadership in private equity, corporate finance and business development. She joins Africa50 from Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) in South Africa where she was the Head of Client Coverage for the rest of Africa outside South Africa, a role she has held since 2014. In this capacity, she was responsible for business development and client relationship management across nine markets. During her tenure, Ms. Moremong successfully built and led a multi-regional team which delivered significant results for RMB’s rest of Africa franchise. Ms. Moremong has also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Venture Capital Association, and has held multiple directorships for both listed and unlisted entities on the continent.

Prior to this, she held several leadership positions, including as an Investment Executive at Aureos Capital and Vice President at Renaissance Capital.

Throughout her career, Ms. Moremong has demonstrated a strong capacity for thought leadership, strategic decision-making and delivering bottom-line results.

Commenting on her appointment, Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50, said “I am delighted to welcome Tshepidi to our team. She brings substantial pan-African financial sector experience, in-depth expertise in private-equity and has successfully led large multi-national teams across regions.  I am confident that her leadership and broad business experience will be a great asset to ensure Africa50’s continued growth and success in the future.”

I am excited and honoured to join the leadership team of Africa50. The organization has a bold mandate in driving the acceleration of infrastructure development on the continent. I am looking forward to working with the team and bringing my passion and expertise to further support Africa’s socio-economic transformation”, Ms. Moremong said about her appointment.

A native of Botswana, Ms. Moremong holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Public Policy from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania (USA) and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University’s Business School in New York (USA).

 

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Qatar Airways to launch new route to Lusaka and Harare from August

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Qatar Airways (Image: YouTube)

Qatar, DOHA – Zambia and Zimbabwe are being added to Qatar Airways expanding list of destinations in Africa from early August, bringing its award-winning service to two important southern African destinations.

The new service to Lusaka and onwards to Harare is scheduled to be operated with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It will connect passengers in Zambia and Zimbabwe with Qatar Airways’ global network of more than 140 destinations. With the addition of these two new routes the carrier will operate over 100 weekly flights to 27 destinations in Africa.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Africa continues to be an area of strong growth for Qatar Airways and launching this service will support the development of the economy and tourism sector in both countries.

“Not only do we continue to rebuild our network after the pandemic, but we are actively expanding it with the addition of these two key destinations. These are the fifth and sixth new destinations in Africa added to our network since the start of the pandemic, taking our total new destinations added across the globe to 10.”

The launch of Lusaka and Harare also supports increased demand for trade between Zambia and Zimbabwe and destinations on the Qatar Airways network such as London, Frankfurt and New York and from multiple points in China. With a total of 30 tonnes of cargo capacity on the aircraft per flight, Qatar Airways Cargo will play a key role in facilitating key exports from Zambia and Zimbabwe.

As travellers return to the skies with Qatar Airways, they can take comfort knowing that they are travelling with the only airline in the world that has, together with its state-of-the-art global hub Hamad International Airport, achieved four 5-Star Skytrax ratings – including the prestigious 5-Star Airline Rating, 5-Star Airport Rating, 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating and 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating.

These achievements highlight Qatar Airways’ commitment to providing our passengers with an industry-leading experience at every point of their journey, including the highest possible level of health and safety standards that safeguard the wellbeing of our passengers both on the ground and in the air. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in HIA, please visit www.qatarairways.com/safety.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’, and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 40 destinations including Casablanca, New York, Paris and Singapore.

Flight schedule starting 6 August:

Wednesday, Friday and Sunday

Doha (DOH) to Lusaka (LUN) QR1455 departs: 02:20 arrives: 08:50

Lusaka (LUN) to Harare (HRE) QR1455 departs: 10:20 arrives: 11:20

Harare (HRE) to Lusaka (LUN) QR1456 departs: 18:55 arrives 19:55

Lusaka (LUN) to Doha (DOH) QR1456 departs: 21:25 arrive 05:55 (+1)

 

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AI for Good Global Summit founder Stephen Ibaraki confirmed as AI Expo Africa 2021 keynote speaker

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AI for Good Global Summit founder, Stephen Ibaraki (Source: AI Expo Africa)

AI for Good Global Summit founder, Chairman of the AI for Good Outreach Committee, industry analyst, venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur Stephen Ibaraki has been confirmed as a keynote speaker for AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE which takes place 7th to 9th September.

Ibaraki is the first VIP keynote speaker to be confirmed for AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE. In his keynote address, entitled, “5th Machine Age Driving Digital Reshaping” he intends to explore the “Society 5.0” and “Smart Humanity”.

Ibaraki who is a 16 time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award, most recently in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) category, is also the chairman and managing general partner of REDDS Capital. In addition to more than 300 awards and recognitions as well as over 300 global engagements impacting over $100-trillion in sustainable investments, Ibaraki is also a contributor for IT World Canada and Forbes on issues around AI.

Ibaraki’s keynote abstract states, “In popular stories about Chaos Theory, the wing beats of a butterfly in Geneva, are connected to the violent storms in your hometown in Africa. Global ecosystems, all interconnected thus force multiplied and amplified, are at an historical inflection point. These are founded on technology acceleration, with more disruption in 5 years, than the last 10,000 years. This Digital Reshaping will forever change governments, industry, academia, education, investments, startups, media, society, culture, our lives and our children’s future. What will the world look like, advanced by Smart Humanity, Society 5.0, 5th Machine Age, AI and innovation trends addressing global challenges and opportunities? What are the exponential change making innovations you must track, implement, and resources you must use to ensure success and not failure during these chaotic next five years?

Now entering it’s fourth successful year, AI Expo Africa is Africa’s largest B2B / B2G AI, RPA and 4IR smart tech trade event and conference, with the 2021 edition building to be the biggest yet with over 5000 delegates registering interest and expected to join the three-day online event.

Dr Nick Bradshaw, founder of AI Expo Africa and CEO of AI Media Group commented, “It’s a real honour to welcome Stephen as one of our VIP keynote speakers.  We have been working with the ITU, Geneva since 2019 around partnering with the global AI4Good movement and the Africa region and this is another great commitment towards growing collaborations around AI4Good in our region. This announcement follows the recent conclusion of the first African focused ITU AI4Good Innovation Factory Challenge that received 44 applications from 12 African countries & 5 finalists using AI-powered innovation for diverse sectors in Africa covering Fintech, Agritech, Cleantech, and Insurtech.”

Over 30 organisations have so far signed up to exhibit at the expo. These include headline event partner Intel, Darktrace, Future Tech, Automation Anywhere partner 1ai, The Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa, InstaDeep, Aizatron, IBA Group, Zindi, Versus, Comparisure, Robotiq AI Africa, ecosystem Ai, Cognizance, Inspired Testing, Atura, Amathuba AI, COGO People Analytics, Elzware, WizzPass, Fliptin, Kosa AI, Learning Machines, Social Lab, Ashanti AI, and Curacel.  In all about 80 speakers will make up the speaker list at AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE, with more keynotes set to be announced in the coming weeks.

 

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