Scaling Up Micro-insurance in Africa (SUM Africa)

Download the SUM Africa project leaflet

Services to be provided

The aim is to provide low-cost, satellite based drought and excessive precipitation insurance to smallholder farmers in Mali and Uganda. Drought and excessive precipitation are the two largest causes of crop loss in Africa, keeping farmers stuck in poverty. Insurance is considered the key to escaping this poverty trap. Insurance is also expected to unlock credit, allowing farmers to invest in better inputs and reach much higher production and income. 



Relative evapotranspiration drought index (RE)

The index insurance services are based on the Meteosat derived relative evapotranspiration (RE), which is proportional to crop grow, and a rainfall proxy: the Cold Cloud Duration (CCD). Data are available from 1982 to date. The Meteosat based index insurance services consist of risk assessment and index insurance design as well as growing season monitoring and loss assessment. The services are delivered through a consortium of index provider, insurers, brokers and aggregators.

Target group

The target group consists of 9 million smallholder farmers in Mali and Uganda. The objective is to serve 430,000 of these farmers after 3 years and 1 million after 6 years have passed.

Business proposition

Agricultural insurance in Africa is virtually non-existing. Traditional insurance based on actual losses is too expensive. Insurance based on weather indices is often considered an inexpensive alternative, but there are insufficient weather stations in Africa and new ones lack the measuring history required for risk assessment. Meteosat derived RE and CCD provide a good alternative, whereas 33 year of data is available at 3 km resolution for every location in Africa, while monitoring continues in real time. Therefore, Meteosat based insurance allows for easy scaling up, corresponding economies of scale, thus enabling affordable insurance propositions to small scale farmers. With an anticipated consortium income of 1.2 euro per smallholder farmer per year, the business becomes financially sustainable when a number of 1 million insured farmers is reached after 6 years. The G4AW subsidy covers a large part of the investment and considerable reduces the financial risk.



Insured farmer 


The partnership has been established on the basis of earlier R&D activities during the project FESA Micro-insurance (2009-2013), a millennium project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The following partners participate in the SUM-Africa consortium: 

  • EARS Earth Environment Monitoring BV, Netherlands, as index insurance service provider.

  • PlaNet Guarantee, France, insurance broker Mali.

  • Coprocuma, Mali, farmer collective and financial service provider.

  • Agence Nationale de la Météorologie, Mali, providing reference data and advising farmers.

  • Agriculture Reinsurance Consultants, Switzerland, insurance broker/adviser Uganda

  • Lion Assurance Company, Uganda, leading consortium of insurers

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Uganda

CategoryCrop insurance
RegionEast Africa,West Africa
CountryMali, Uganda
Period2014 - 2017
Targeted end userssmallholder farmers in Mali and Uganda