Nairobi — A local microfinance institution (MFI), Juhudi Kilimo has been picked as one of the 2013 top 100 global information technology frontrunners.
Juhudi Kilimo 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.
The entry, showcasing the operations of its locally developed credit management system dubbed the Juhudi Kilimo Farmer Leads Management System (FLMS) 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.
Speaking in Nairobi when he hosted Samsung Electronics East Africa Chief Operating officer Robert Ngeru, Juhudi Kilimo CEO Nat Robinson confirmed that the organization 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.
The MFI 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.
"At Juhudi Kilimo, we are currently managing a micro finance loan portfolio of more than Sh450million in parts of rural Kenya, and our win at the global CIO 100 awards underscores Kenya's growing reputation as an IT powerhouse," Robinson said.
In less than five years of operation, Juhudi 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 95percent," he added.
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.
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 organized by CIO Magazine, the executive-level IT media brand that provides insight into business technology leadership.
"Every year we are so impressed by the resourceful, business-savvy use of technology across all of our CIO 100 winning companies," Maryfran Johnson, editor in chief of CIO magazine & events said. "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."