Startup Pula joins Biden's Sh927.6bn private sector climate action


Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema (left) and Pula chief executive Thomas Njeru. PHOTO | POOL

Agritech startup Pula Advisors is among the 24 organisations that have joined US President Joe Biden’s Sh927.6 billion private sector programmes to fight climate change by supporting smallholder farmers. 

Pula last week agreed to rev up their support for small-scale farmers in the region following a call by US Vice President Kamala Harris during her visit to three African countries. 

The plan dubbed President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) will see Pula increase their coverage to 100 million smallholder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa.

The startup said in a statement that the programme will be achieved by providing up to $20 billion in insurance coverage by 2026.

This comes at a time sub-Sahara Africa is grappling with the impact of climate change that has led to reduced production and earnings as well as skyrocketing food prices in the region. 

 ‘’These new investments and initiatives will generate significant economic benefits while addressing African nations’ pressing needs resulting from the climate crisis, including food security challenges, by helping to lift over 116 million farmers and promote climate-smart agriculture,” the White House stated.

Pula targets uninsured farmers by helping them protect them against the risk of financial losses due to climate-related events.

The smallholder farmers pay Sh2,650 ($20) for Sh26,504 ($200) of insurance coverage. 

Mastercard has also committed to connecting 15 million people in Africa to the Community Pass platform by 2027.

The companies drawn from different sectors have made over Sh927.64 billion ($7 billion) in new commitments that will be directed toward adopting solutions to enhance climate resilience, transition to clean energy and increase agricultural production.

Community Pass leverages digital technology utilising farmer’s data such as production volume, sales and transactions to access to credit, markets and extension services while raising their returns. 

Kenyan electric vehicle company, Roam plan to raise invest Sh19.88 billion ($50 million) over the next eight years to scale up affordable electric motorcycles and public transit solutions for emerging market consumers and reduce CO2 emissions.

The plan will create 300 direct jobs and more than 24,000 indirect jobs by 2026 with a gender-inclusive recruitment strategy.

Other companies that have made commitments include One Acre Fund, Corteva, Cambridge Industries Ltd, ABD Group, Africa Finance Corporation, C1 Ventures, Roam, Vista Bank Group, the GEOGlows Streamflow Forecasting Service and YouthMappers.

In addition to the commitment by the companies, the Biden-Harris Administration has also announced undisclosed new federal funding and initiatives to expand access to climate information services and enhance climate resilience and adaptation in the continent. 

The partnerships are expected to bolster US- Africa relations. 

The agriculture sector has been increasingly vulnerable to drought and unpredictable weather patterns leading to reduced production and negatively impacting retail and wholesale prices.

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