AfDB approves US$1.3m grant for research efforts to enhance women’s digital access to loans and micro-insurance

AFRICA – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved two grants for research that will increase African women’s access to a range of digital financial services including loans and micro-insurance. The grants, for US$1 million and US$300,000 respectively, will be disbursed through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), a blended finance vehicle supported by AfDB, to two financial technology firms, Pula Advisors Kenya Ltd., and M-KOPA Kenya Ltd. Pula Advisors will use the US$1 million for research of social, cultural, and economic factors that impact women farmers’ access to…

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AfDB extends US$2m grant to strengthen cybersecurity and boost financial inclusion in Africa

AFRICA – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has awarded a US$2 million grant to establish the African Cybersecurity Resource Center (ACRC) for Financial Inclusion to tackle cybercrime across Africa and to strengthen the resilience of digital financial ecosystems. The  grant will be disbursed through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility, a blended finance vehicle, which the institution supports. The project will take a three-pronged approach: creation of an affordable shared platform to monitor cyber-attacks against financial service providers and individual customers; rollout of individualized advisory services to enable  organisations to…

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Kenya’s Ilara health startup secures US$1.1m Gates Foundation grant for maternal health

KENYA – Kenyan e-health startup Ilara Health, a provider of point of care diagnostic testing to small primary care clinics has received a US$1.1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve maternal health outcomes in the country.  Ilara Health provides affordable diagnostic equipment to patients and healthcare providers in peri-urban areas and has partnered with more than 120 clinics thus enabling access to life-saving point of care diagnostic tools to thousands of patients across Kenya.  The startup’s underlying technology seamlessly integrates these diagnostic tools into easy to…

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Global Fund commits US$50 million for COVID-19 rapid tests for low- and medium-income countries

SWITZERLAND – Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator has announced a set of agreements to make available affordable, high-quality COVID-19 antigen rapid tests for low and middle-income countries. The organizations involved in this milestone agreement include the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), Global Fund, Unitaid, and the World Health Organization (WHO). As part of this comprehensive, end-to-end effort, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has executed separate volume guarantee agreements…

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54gene secures US$15m Series A funding round to scale operations

NIGERIA – 54gene, an African genomics research, services, and development startup, has closed a Series A round of US$15 million to allow it to scale operations.The startup raised a US$4.5 million seed round last year, and has now secured US$15 million in Series A capital in a round led by Adjuvant Capital, a life sciences fund backed by the International Finance Corporation, Novartis, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The round included participation from Raba Capital, V8 Capital, and Ingressive Capital, as well as follow-on investment from Y Combinator,…

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Mastercard, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation inject US$20m into Covid-19 clinical trials

AFRICA – Mastercard, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome have announced a grant of US$20 million to three institutions: The University of Washington, University of Oxford and La Jolla Institute of Immunology. They will fund clinical trials in to identify highly potent immunotherapies for COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, there are no broad-spectrum antivirals or immunotherapies available to prevent or treat COVID-19. “These grants to leading institutions in their fields will advance our understanding of how existing drugs and antibodies can contribute to addressing the pandemic we’re facing around the world,”…

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