IFC Partners Kobo 360, Unveils Temperature-Controlled Logistics Programme

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By Omolabake Fasogbon

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with Kobo360, has launched a Temperature-Controlled Logistics, TCL, solutions programme to assist Nigeria in overcoming challenges in the food and health sector.

To this end, IFC has announced an open call to innovators from around the world to come forward with climate-smart and TCL cooling solutions that will see to Nigeria’s food waste challenges, support its health sector, and reduce energy consumption level.

According to IFC, The techEmerge TCL Nigeria programme aims to offer market access and a pool of up to $1 million in funding to top innovators.

The innovators will be 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 programme 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.

TCL 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.

Providing more explanation on the programme, 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 TCL solutions in Nigeria, and Africa more broadly.”

He added that applications for the programme are open till January 31, 2021. Kobo360’s Founding Partner and Head of KoboCare, Ike Abiakam, said, “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.”

He added that the programme will bring together tech companies and innovators selected through a competitive process for matchmaking with leading Nigerian companies. The 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.