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Kenyan founder Jihan Abass’ Lami raises $3.7 million in seed extension round

Abass founded Lami Technologies to democratize insurance products and services for low-income Africans.

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Jihan Abass

Lami Technologies, an insurance technology startup led by Kenyan businesswoman Jihan Abass, has raised $3.7 million in a seed extension round led by Harlem Capital, a New York-based venture capital firm, as it seeks to expand its insurtech products across Africa.

The round was also supported by early-stage venture capital firm Newtown Partners, as well as angel investors such as Peter Bruce-Clark, a partner at Social Impact Capital, Caribou Honig and Jay Weintraub of InsureTech Connect, and senior members of Exotix Advisory.

The $3.7-million capital injection from investors, which will be used to expand the startup’s operations and infrastructure, follows the $1.8 million that it received from its seed funding round last year, bringing the total funding from investors to $5.5 million.

According to Lami Founder and CEO Jihan Abass, the additional funding secured from investors will be used for business, product and technology development, and expansion to other countries like Egypt, Nigeria, and Uganda.

“Lami is pioneering innovation in the insurance sector, and we are glad to have secured the right partners to help drive insurance uptake across Africa,” she said. “We are looking to make insurance easily accessible to everyone on the continent, and we will continually be unveiling more products that confirm this resolve.”

Harlem Capital Principal Gabby Cazeau said the next wave of fintech will embed financial products and services such as insurance into a customer’s purchase experience, and Lami’s approach to serving people through strategic partners in e-commerce and finance is the best way to build trust with users and deliver insurance to Africans across the continent in a seamless and accessible way.

Abass founded Lami in 2018 with the aim of democratizing insurance products and services for low-income Africans by providing convenient and affordable policies that reach the bottom of the pyramid.

As part of its efforts to bridge Africa’s insurance penetration gap through strategies and technologies that make insurance affordable through “bite-sized” premiums, the startup earlier this year acquired Bluewave Insurance Agency, another insurtech startup that uses mobile technology to reach the underserved population and tap into Africa’s insurance gap.

Abass stated that the acquisition of Bluewave, a startup founded in 2016 by Adelaide Odhiambo, aligns with the firm’s mission to break the three-percent insurance penetration barrier in Africa.

East Africa

Aga Khan IV-backed Jubilee to receive $2.27 million from sale of Mauritian insurance subsidiary

Jubilee Holdings is a Kenyan investment holding company.

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Aga Khan IV.

Jubilee Holdings is on course to pocket a total of Ksh270 million ($2.26 million) from the sale of a 54.15-percent stake in its Mauritian subsidiary Jubilee Insurance Company of Mauritius Limited to Allianz SE.

Alliansz SE is a German multinational financial services company headquartered in Munich.

The transaction is the fifth to be concluded under a 2020 agreement in which Allianz began the process of purchasing majority stakes in Jubilee’s general insurance units in five countries, including Mauritius.

“We expect to close the Mauritius transaction in September… For Jubilee, the total consideration is Sh270 million,” Nizar Juma, chairman of Jubilee Holdings, said, setting the timeline for the $2.26-million deal with the German multinational insurer.

Jubilee Holdings is a Kenyan investment holding company with active operations and investments in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and Mauritius. It owns 88.15 percent of Jubilee Insurance Company of Mauritius Limited.

Shah Karim al-Husayni, also known as Aga Khan IV, is best known for founding Nation Media Group, Africa’s largest independent media organization. Through the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, he owns 37.98 percent of Jubilee Holdings and 11.85 percent of its Mauritian subsidiary.

According to BusinessDaily, Allianz will purchase additional shares from Aga Khan IV, who will sell his 11.85-percent stake in the Mauritian subsidiary as part of the deal.

With the deal expected to close next month, Jubilee Holdings will see its ownership interest drop to 34 percent as part of its partial divestiture in its general insurance businesses, which follows the sale of similar assets in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi.

Over two months ago, Jubilee received Ksh1.4 billion ($11.7 million) from the sale of a majority stake in its Tanzanian general insurance business to Allianz.

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East Africa

Kenyan banking exec Andrew Ndegwa gains $1.5 million in 43 days from investment in NCBA Group

Ndegwa, an executive director of First Chartered Securities Limited, owns 4.3 percent of NCBA Group.

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Andrew Ndegwa.

After losing a sizable portion of its market capitalization in the first half of 2022, NCBA Group has seen its share price soar above its opening price at the start of this year.

NCBA Group is a financial services conglomerate based in Kenya.

Due to the recent gains in the company’s share price, Kenyan banking tycoon Andrew Ndegwa has seen the market value of his stake in the conglomerate increase by more than $1.5 million over the past 43 days.

As of press time on Aug. 12, shares in NCBA Group were trading at Ksh26.2 ($0.22), 4.73-percent less than their opening price this morning as wary investors took advantage of the high price to sell off some of their positions in the bank.

Since June 30, shares in the Nairobi-based financial services provider have risen by 11 percent, from Ksh23.6 ($0.198) per share to Ksh26.2 ($0.22) per share, driven by a resurgence in buying interest among market participants.

Ndegwa, an executive director of First Chartered Securities Limited, owns 4.3 percent of NCBA Group. He has seen the market value of his stake rise from Ksh1.67 billion ($14.02 million) on June 30 to Ksh1.86 billion ($15.57 million) due to the recent bullish sentiment on the NSE floor.

As a result, the banking tycoon has gained a total of Ksh184.36 million ($1.54 million) over the past 43 days, solidifying his status once more as one of the wealthiest investors on the NSE.

Meanwhile, James Ndegwa, his brother and the former head of Kenya’s capital markets authority, has seen his 4.23-percent stake in NCBA Group increase by $1.47 million over this same period.

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East Africa

Malagasy tycoon Hassanein Hiridjee says Africa needs to invest in clean energy transition

Hiridjee is one of Madagascar’s wealthiest and most powerful business leaders.

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Malagasy tycoon Hassanein Hiridjee.

Malagasy multimillionaire businessman and AXIAN Group CEO Hassanein Hiridjee has stated that Africa must invest in a clean energy transition to bolster the continent’s renewable energy capacity.

“We must double our commitment within Africa to increase investments to shape our own energy destiny in order to meet long-term goals,” Hiridjee said.

Millions of Africans could be lifted out of energy poverty with the right strategy and investment in clean energy transition projects stimulated by collective action from the private and public sectors, he said.

His statement comes after U.S. billionaire Michael Bloomberg pledged $242 million to assist developing countries, including African nations, in transitioning away from non-renewables.

Hiridjee explained that such funding is needed to combat Africa’s continuing energy crisis, in which hundreds of millions lack access to basic electricity.

He added that the lack of access to basic electricity is only worsening as a result of the war in Ukraine and COVID-19, with 25 million more Africans living without electricity than before the pandemic.

Infinity Group, a leading renewable energy company led by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour, recently partnered with the Africa Finance Corporation to acquire Lekela Power, making Infinity the continent’s largest renewable energy company.

Hiridjee, one of Madagascar’s wealthiest and most powerful business leaders, has also played a formative role in developing commercially viable energy solutions that provide Africans with efficient, long-term access to energy resources.

Earlier this year, Axian Group completed the expansion of the Ambatolampy solar power plant in Madagascar, from 20 to 40 MWp.

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