Africa Development Bank (AfDB) signs US$28.8mn grant to support Somalia
This week, African Development Bank (AfDB) and Somalia signed two grants for a total of US$28.8mn to improve the livelihoods of people in Somalia and boost resilience.
The approved grants are a continuation of AfDB’s efforts to invest in Africa as a whole, earlier this month the bank announced strong results from the US$13bn it has already invested into the country.
Each grant was signed by Somalia’s Deputy Finance Minister, Abdullahi Sheikh Ali and African Development Bank’s Deputy Director General for East Africa, Nnenna Nwabufo.
Others that were present at the signing included: Somali ministers for public works, housing and reconstruction and energy and water resources, as well as, representatives from South West and Jubbaland states and the International Organisation for Migration.
The first grant of US$11.99mn, will help the Kismayo Baidoa urban water project, to strengthen quality of life, inclusiveness and resilience through increased access to safe water, as well as improve sanitation and water delivery services.
The second grant of US$16.86mn will part finance a US$66.7mn road project, to rehabilitate 355km of regional road networks and improve the capacities of public agencies. The project is expected to improve productivity, living standards and inter-regional trade as well as reduce the cost of business and create jobs.
Both projects are set to be launched mid-September and will be implemented within the framework of the bank’s multi-Partner Somalia infrastructure fund as well as being consistent with the key objectives of Somalia’s National Development Plan.
AfDB’s ongoing portfolio in Somalia currently totals at roughly US$143.7mn across governance, institutional support, capacity building, agriculture, transport and social sectors.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.