Eight African startups have been named among the recipients of grants from the GSMA Innovation Fund for Climate Resilience and Adaptation, which aims to accelerate the testing, adoption and scalability of digital innovations that enable the world’s most vulnerable populations to adapt to, anticipate and absorb the negative impacts of climate change.
Launched a year ago, the GSMA Innovation Fund for Climate Resilience and Adaptation is just the latest initiative run by the GSMA, after other focused offerings in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
The aim of the fund is to back solutions that can increase the capacity of low-income and vulnerable communities to adapt to, anticipate or absorb climate-related shocks or stresses. The round was the biggest so far for the GSMA in terms of the number of applications received, with 524 innovations from 70 countries seeking backing. In the end, 11 startups – including eight from Africa – were selected to receive grant funding.
They include three from Nigeria, namely CoAmana, a digital marketplace for farmers to access markets, purchase drought-resistant seeds and access information on best practices and financial services; Crop2Cash, which provides access to agri-insurance and climate smart farming content through a mobile app; and Hello Tractor, which uses weather and historic tractor service demand data to model and optimise tractor service provision.\
The other selected African startups are Kenya’s Aquarech, which is enabling market access and creating an inclusive aquaculture value chain through use of mobile technology and IoT sensors; Egypt’s BENAA, which uses IoT to help convert waste water into irrigation water; Ethiopia’s Lersha, a one-stop advisory service for smallholder farmers; Liberia’s J-Palm, which provides access to ecological information for local harvesters; and Tanzania’s Simusolar, which sustains fisheries management through IoT-enabled productivity and activity tracking equipment.
Other startups hail from Pakistan, Nepal, and the Philippines.
Over the course of the grant, the GSMA will support these startups to strengthen climate resilience efforts by helping them scale and realise their full potential. This will be done by facilitating partnerships with mobile operators and public sector organisations; providing technical assistance on how to reach and better serve climate vulnerable communities; providing tools, templates and specialist advisory support on how to evidence socio-economic and climate impact, as well as promote product improvement; and offering opportunities to increase their visibility to potential investors and partners.
“In catalysing these digital solutions, we hope to generate insights from innovative use-cases, partnerships and business models to improve the sustainability and scalability of digital climate resilience solutions,” the GSMA said.
“In doing so, the GSMA seeks to support this cohort of innovators to realise their full potential and help improve the lives of people vulnerable to climate risks.”