FSD Africa, Swiss Re Foundation and National Bank of Rwanda Launch Partnership to Boost Financial Inclusion in Nine African Countries

20th April 2023, Kigali, Rwanda – FSD Africa has partnered with the Swiss Re Foundation and the National Bank of Rwanda to launch BimaLab Africa Acceleration Program – a pioneering accelerator program that aims to grow insurance coverage among low-income consumers by investing in innovative solutions in nine African countries.

The expanded pan-African program is designed to support entrepreneurs in developing innovative solutions for the insurance sector. It targets Insurtech (insurance technology) innovations from Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

The expansion of BimaLab is supported by $500,000 financing from the Swiss Re Foundation, which is among the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, insurance, and other forms of insurance-based risk transfer.

FSD Africa, Swiss Re Foundation and National Bank of Rwanda Launch Partnership to Boost Financial Inclusion in Nine African Countries

BimaLab Africa has been devised as a model which addresses crucial challenges facing African consumers, especially those at the base of the economic pyramid. While insurance provides a vital safety net for customers at risk of external threats including health issues, economic disruptions, and natural disasters, it has, for many Africans, been unavailable – only 3% of Africa’s GDP is driven by insurance, less than half the world average of 7%.

Kelvin Massingham, Director of Risk and Resilience, FSD Africa, said, “BimaLab offers hands-on venture-building support to high-impact start-ups that improve the resilience of underserved and climate-vulnerable communities. We are grateful for the financial support provided by the Swiss Re Foundation, which has enabled us to democratize the successful BimaLab model across the region.”

The incubator, which combines the demonstration of global best practices with in-depth local knowledge, offers applicants a rigorous five-month program in which they are supported with expertise, resources, and support for scalability and market readiness.

Stefan Huber Fux, Director at Swiss Re Foundation said: “We are committed to making insurance more accessible and affordable for low-income consumers in emerging markets, and we believe that supporting programs like BimaLab is one way we can help to achieve this goal. New digital technologies have the potential to enhance financial inclusion by providing access to unserved and underserved customers.”

The partnership will focus on three main areas: enhancing access to financial services; increasing insurance penetration; and promoting innovation in the financial sector.

Hon. John Rwangombwa, Governor, NBR said: “The National Bank of Rwanda is committed to promoting financial inclusion in Rwanda, and this partnership with FSD Africa and Swiss Re Foundation is a key step towards achieving that goal. We believe this partnership will help to increase access to financial services, promote innovation and boost economic development across Rwanda and Africa”.

BimaLab Africa expands on successful Insurtech initiatives in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana to provide African entrepreneurs with the tools and support needed to develop innovative insurance solutions. The program has helped 40 insurtechs scale their innovations, resulting in 20 partnerships and 43 new products in Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria. BimaLab has reached over 500,000 customers and raised over USD 1 million, promoting innovation and inclusion in the insurance industry. The new program aims to contribute to the growth of the African insurance market and is implemented by Tellistic Technology Services.