KENYA – Kenyan agriculture digital-insurance startup, Pula, has announced the appointment of Michael Joseph, the former Safaricom PLC Chairman and CEO, as the new Chairman of its Board effective September 19.

Pula is an agricultural insurance and technology company that designs and delivers innovative agricultural insurance and digital products to smallholder farmers.

“I am very pleased to welcome Michael Joseph as the new Chairman of Pula’s Board. Michael will bring a wealth of skills and industry knowledge to the company.

“Throughout his career, he has been committed to seeing small businesses in Africa succeed on the global stage,” said Thomas Njeru, Co-Founder and CEO of Pula.

Michael is famously known as the founding CEO of Kenya’s giant telco Safaricom PLC, which he took from a subscriber base of 1800 to 14 million in a period of just 10 years.

He incubated and gave life to M-PESA, a mobile money exchange platform, that was introduced in 2007 and has since revolutionised the business ecosystem not only in Kenya but also in other countries where the service has been introduced.

He is currently the Chairman of Kenya Airways board of directors, and also doubles up as the Chair of MPESA Foundation Academy. In addition, Michael holds a number of executive roles at the larger Vodafone group.

“His experience and strong knowledge of scaling companies in African markets aligns with Pula’s ambitions. This puts him in an ideal position to lead Pula’s growth in insuring smallholder farmers in new markets,” said Mr Njeru.

Pula has insured over 6.5 million smallholder farmers across 16 countries through its flagship Area Yield Index Insurance product.

“I am delighted to have joined Pula as its new Chairman of the Board. I have always been interested in using technology to change peoples’ lives for the better.

“The connection between agriculture and technology intrigues me, particularly on how technology can be used to improve smallholder farmers’ productivity and incomes.

“I look forward to guiding Pula as it continues its growth, and hope to push the company to do even better,” said Michael.

Pula early this year emerged among the top 100 global firms poised to have a significant impact on business and society in World Economic Forum (WEF) Technology Pioneers ranking.

The company was featured on the list for its innovation in using technology to provide agriculture insurance to millions of smallholder farmers in emerging markets.

Last year, the firm won Insurtech of the Year Award during the sixth annual African Insurance Awards at an event held in Lagos, Nigeria.

In 2020, the agri-tech raised US$6m in a Series A fundraising to boost expansion in Kenya and beyond the African continent.

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