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CLIMARK: Upscaling Index-Based Livestock Insurance in Ethiopia

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Project Description

This research-for-development agreement between the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and ILRI entails two related outputs: creating the conditions to scale up Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) beyond the Borana Zone of Southern Ethiopia, and identifying the conditions required to develop an agrometeorological information system for pastoralists in two Northern Kenyan counties. This project is a continuation of the deep partnership between CTA and ILRI under the Climate, Livestock and Markets (CLIMARK) program.

Research Overview


Together with Oromia Insurance Company (OIC), ILRI launched IBLI in the Borana Zone of Ethiopia in 2012. CTA also supported OIC with related IBLI activities in Ethiopia. Following the success of the Borana pilot, CTA is assisting the IBLI team to develop the foundations for scaling IBLI into other pastoralist regions of Ethiopia.

Under the second pillar of work, CTA and ILRI are working together to identify the conditions required to develop a successful agrometeorological information system for pastoralists with the effort initially targeting Isiolo and Marsabit countries in Northern Kenya. CTA likewise supported ILRI’s commercial IBLI partner in Kenya, Takaful Insurance of Africa, to help propel sustainable scale in Kenya under the government-led Kenya Livestock Insurance Program (KLIP).

Below are the broad areas of the scope of work for ILRI’s contributions to CLIMARK along the two main pillars set out from the ongoing partnership. This specific agreement puts more emphasis on scaling IBLI in Ethiopia and revises ILRI’s contribution to the information systems for pastoralists work in Kenya to a related, specific knowledge product.

Output 1: Develop IBLI Contracts for Pastoralist Farmers 

With a focus on the Somali Region of Ethiopia (established following the recommendations of the previous feasibility work), we are completing the current efforts required to support scaling beyond Borana. This will entail:

  • Completing the clustering work needed to design IBLI contracts in the Somali Region,

  • Finalizing a training tool for contract design, and

  • Conducting at least two trainings for at least three private insurance companies, the National Metrological Agency, and related stakeholders.


Secondly, we are supporting OIC to design digital sales, service, and information delivery infrastructure as the backbone of a sustainable and scalable agency model. This work includes:

  • Enhancing the functionality of current IBLI sales transactions tools and mobile learning apps for OIC,

  • Studying the OIC agency model and accompanying infrastructure to identify optimal learning configurations and additional learning needs for agents, and

  • Training and building capacity of OIC’s micro insurance staff, ICT staff, and agents on the deployment of the tools and applications.


Third, we are convening and supporting a dialogue among government, insurance partners, and other stakeholders required to catalyze a concrete, high-level process for establishing the institutional frameworks for support IBLI at scale, likely around a public-private partnership (PPP) model. We will:

  • Coordinate at least two workshops and two training sessions aimed at creating awareness among senior stakeholders of IBLI impacts and establishing a process for institutionalizing large scale sustainable IBLI provision.

  • Convene one Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)/regional-level workshop targeted at lessons required for developing or maintaining processes for taking IBLI to a sustainable scale.

  • Publish a summary of key lessons learned for IBLI-Ethiopia and its implications for scale.


Output 2: Agrimet information for Livestock Systems

Under this output, our work has primarily focused around conducting feasibility studies that surveyed pastoralist demand for information and their willingness to pay, understanding technical requirements for the requisite technology platform, and uncovering the prerequisites for commercial sustainability. We heavily leveraged a related livestock market information systems project and successfully prototyped and piloted a digital platform, KAZNET, that will expand to include a broader range of dryland information systems in the near future.


As CTA has identified an alternative vehicle for the actual design of an agri-weather platform, it has been agreed that ILRI’s contributions to the agri-weather program will also be recast to focus on developing a generalized knowledge product to guide efforts at providing high-quality, cost-efficient informational services for dryland populations. This knowledge product will focus on the prerequisite elements for leveraging digital and mobile tools for developing and delivering value-adding information services in this space. This could be couched as an institutional and market analysis for scale, focusing more on the preconditions for commercial sustainability or comprising more technical assessments of the digital platform as it relates to meeting client needs.


Findings to date

  • Successfully delivered IBLI clustering work in Somali Regional State of Ethiopia.

  • Customized an Android-based digital learning app to the local language and culture, piloted the app, and documented lessons for improving features and effectiveness of learning platforms.

  • Successfully finalized OIC’s agency model.

  • Policy advocacy is building momentum for the establishment of a National Agricultural inded[JJ1] -insurance task force. ILRI is mandate by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture to develop terms of reference for the establishment of the task force.

Implementing Partners

  • Oromia Insurance Company

  • Takaful Insurance of Africa

Funded by

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)

Project Timeline

April 2017 - December 2019


Francesco Fava

Masresha Taye

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