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Samsung project wins global technology award

29 August 2013, 14:29

Nairobi - A local micro finance institution (MFI) has, been picked as one of the 2013 top 100 global information technology frontrunners, thanks to one of its remote credit assessment service delivered from Samsung Galaxy Tablets.

Juhudi Kilimo, a fast growing Micro Finance institution that provides financing to smallholder farmers and enterprises for a variety of income-producing assets emerged as the only African enterprise featuring on the CIO 100 Global winners list. Juhudi Kilimo, shared the podium with global giants such as Boeing Corporation, IBM, Intel Corporation and Verizon wireless among others.

To top it up, Juhudi Kilimo, has also expressed plans to consider financing local farmers to assist them acquire tablet devices in its drive to encourage Internet use in agricultural production.

The plan may soon see scores of local farmers enjoying market information and agricultural extension resources that are readily available on the internet in the comfort of their rural homes.

Speaking in Nairobi, when he hosted Samsung Electronics East Africa Chief Operating officer Mr Robert Ngeru, Juhudi Kilimo CEO Nat Robinsion accompanied by the MFI’s Chief Information Officer Gilbert Ambani, confirmed that the organisation is considering a range of mobile-based solutions to boost agricultural development and rural entrepreneurship. Use of mobile technology, he noted has proved to be an effective avenue to manage poverty and poor agricultural yield.

“At Juhudi Kilimo, we are currently managing a micro finance loan portfolio of more than KES 450million in parts of rural Kenya, and our win at the global CIO 100 awards underscores Kenya’s growing reputation as an IT powerhouse,” Robertson said.

He added, “In less than five years of operation, Juhudu Kilimo now finances over 23,000 rural smallholder farmers with productive assets worth $10.7million and have managed to maintain an average repayment rate of 95%.”

The entry, showcasing the operations of its locally developed credit management system dubbed the Juhudi Kilimo Farmer Leads Management System (FLMS) Robertson explained is operated from Samsung Galaxy Tablets and places critical information at the fingertips of Juhudi Kilimo field loan and credit officers operating in Kisii, Nyamira, Litein, Kitale, Eldoret, Nkubu and Murang’a areas.

Samsung Chief Operating Officer Robert Ngeru, while congratulating Juhudi Kilimo on the CIO 100 award, said the firm’s on-going partnership with the Micro Finance Institution, confirms the viability of integrating IT based systems in the delivery of economic development projects.

“At Samsung Electronics, we are conscious of the need to develop products that can be used to boost economic development efforts as exemplified by Juhudi Kilimo’s use of Samsung Galaxy devices,” Ngeru said.

“We are impressed that Juhudi Kilimo’s practical integration of a CRM platform on the Galaxy tablets, now allows their loan officers to process upto 500 loan applications daily up from 300 applications,” Ngeru added

The annual CIO 100 awards program recognizes 100 global organizations that have distinguished themselves by creating business value through the innovative use of Information Technology (IT) and is organised by CIO Magazine, the executive-level IT media brand that provides insight into business technology leadership.

To serve its rural clients, Juhudi Kilimo has also deployed Samsung devices to collect loan repayments and feedback effectively reducing the burden on clients and loan officers in these remote areas.

Launched in August 2012, FLMS runs on extremely low bandwidth on a 3G network, eliminating the need for fibre optic, Wimax or wired buildings for connectivity.

Technically run on a SalesForce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, Juhudi Kilimo’s FLMS provides Field Loan officers with an easy to use solution to capture and store real-time data such as scheduled meetings, credit appraisals and business assessments while visiting smallholder farmers.

The recipients of this year’s CIO 100 award were, selected through a three-step process. First, companies filled out an online application form detailing their innovative IT and business initiatives. Next, a team of judges reviewed the applications in depth, looking for unique practices and substantial results. Finally, CIO editors reviewed the judges’ recommendations and voted on the final 100.

“Every year we are so impressed by the resourceful, business-savvy use of technology across all of our CIO 100 winning companies,” said Maryfran Johnson, editor in chief of CIO magazine & events."

“This year we saw a much greater emphasis on faster project turnarounds and speed of delivery, use of mobility and social technologies, and smarter use of all sorts of data to engage customers.”


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