FIIFC, Kobo360 Invite Innovative Cooling Solution Projects for Nigeria’s Food, Health, and other Industries
By Ikenna Omeje
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with Kobo360, an African digital logistics platform, has announced an open call for innovators from around the world to bring climate-smart, temperature-controlled logistics (TCL) cooling solutions to Nigeria to help the country address food waste challenges, support its health sector, and reduce its energy consumption.
According to a release by IFC, “The TechEmerge Temperature-Controlled Logistics Nigeria program aims to offer market access and a pool of up to $1 million in funding to top innovators matched with leading Nigerian companies to jointly pilot sustainable solutions that reduce losses in cold chains, strengthen access to TCL-dependent products and markets, and build commercial partnerships.
“The program is being implemented by IFC in partnership with the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Kobo360, an African e-logistics platform and IFC client. Applications are open until January 31, 2021.”
Temperature-controlled logistics is essential for economic development, human health, and food security. It delivers perishable goods to shops and shipping ports and keeps medicines and vaccines from spoiling as they are transported to clinics, pharmacies, and hospitals.
IFC’s Senior Director of Disruptive Technologies and Funds, William Sonneborn, said, “Sustainable cooling technologies represent a fast-growing business opportunity with particular importance to emerging markets. We are excited to support cutting-edge entrepreneurs to pilot and scale their temperature-controlled logistics solutions in Nigeria, and Africa more broadly.”
Speaking on the initiative, the release quoted Kobo360’s Founding Partner and Head of KoboCare, Ike Abiakam, as saying, “Africa’s cold chain capacity faces a lack of investment in equipment for maintaining a specific temperature range throughout the supply chain. We’ve seen a gap in the market for shipping solutions, specifically concerning moving deep-frozen, cold and ambient goods in a safe and temperature-controlled environment. Temperature-controlled shipping is constantly evolving and our partnership with the IFC is a key step towards discovering the best innovations that will enable the efficient transport of chilled goods.”
The TechEmerge Sustainable Cooling program will bring together tech companies and innovators selected through a competitive process for matchmaking with leading Nigerian companies. This selection will lead to discussions of piloting and commercial deployment of their innovations.
IFC and a panel of industry experts will provide support during market entry and tech transfer, helping tech companies and start-ups mitigate financial and operational risks.