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FSD Ethiopia’s BimaLab Accelerator to Foster Insurtech Innovation in Ethiopian Market

Ethiopia’s insurance industry set to undergo a transformative shift with the launch of the BimaLab Ethiopia Insurtech Accelerator. This initiative, led by Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Ethiopia, seeks to foster innovation and address the unique challenges faced by the country’s nascent insurance market.

Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and originally conceptualized by FSD Africa, the BimaLab Ethiopia Insurtech Accelerator aims to empower insurtech startups and drive much-needed change in the industry. With a focus on delivering innovative insurance solutions, particularly for low-income households, the program aims is said to overcome obstacles such as limited resources, technical expertise, and regulatory support.

The accelerator has selected 15 startups and corporations from various regions of Ethiopia. Among the participants, four are established insurance companies, while the remaining 11 represent promising startups.

Abel Taddele, Director of Financial Inclusion at FSD Ethiopia, emphasizes, “BimaLab Ethiopia is a testament to our commitment to inclusive financial solutions. This program will empower Ethiopian startups to drive change in the insurance landscape. With the advancement of digital financial services in Ethiopia, it is high time the insurance sector embraces innovation to expand its reach.”

Belay Tulu, Director of the Insurance Supervision Directorate at the National Bank of Ethiopia, acknowledges the potential of insurtech initiatives to expand insurance access to underserved communities, stating, “By fostering innovation, BimaLab can help develop new products and solutions to reach more Ethiopians.”

BimaLab Ethiopia takes an approach, welcoming startups at various stages of maturity and guiding them through a journey of discovery, validation, and innovation. The program aims to demystify insurtech innovation, offering support in navigating the regulatory landscape and fostering impactful partnerships.

With a record of supporting insurtechs across Africa, BimaLab has already facilitated strategic partnerships and the development of insurance products that benefit millions of customers. With over 3,000,000 customers reached and more than USD 10 million raised to enhance insurance accessibility.

As Ethiopia’s insurance market continues to evolve, BimaLab Ethiopia also places a strong emphasis on inclusivity. The program seeks to promote diversity in leadership and develop solutions that strengthen the resilience of women and youth.

With Ethiopia’s insurance penetration below one percent and the industry lagging in terms of innovation and digital solutions, the launch of BimaLab Ethiopia marks a significant step toward revolutionizing the sector.

Eden Teshome

Editor-in-Chief of Ethiopian Business Review (EBR). She can be reached at

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