Andrew Mude

The Digital Revolution in Agriculture

7-8 August 2017, Canberra

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Dr Andrew Mude

Andrew Mude is a Principal Economist at the International Livestock Research Institute based in Nairobi, Kenya.  His portfolio deals largely with developing innovative, evidence-based technological solutions to ensure the productive and sustainable use of livestock by dryland populations.  Andrew leads the multiple-award winning effort to design, evaluate and scale livestock insurance to help millions of poor herders and their families who care for and depend upon their livestock under conditions of considerable drought risk.  Widely published in peer-reviewed journals, and featured in numerous prestigious media outlets across, Andrew was the 2016 recipient of the Normal Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application recognizing exceptional, science-based achievement in international agriculture and food production by an individual under 40.  Andrew completed his doctoral degree in Economics at Cornell University in 2006 and was a Mid-Career Fellow of the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School in 2011.

Dr Andrew Mude Paper Crawford Fund Conference 2017

Dr Andrew Mude Presentation

The role of mobile technologies in promoting sustainable delivery of livestock insurance in the East African Drylands:  Toward sustainable Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) for Pastoralists


The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) together with her partners launched a pilot index-based livestock insurance (IBLI) product in January 2010 in Marsabit District of Northern Kenya that has since scaled across the drylands of Kenya and is also gaining momentum in Ethiopia where a pilot was launched in 2012.  One problem inspired ILRI’s IBLI agenda:  Finding a sustainable way to help pastoralists to quickly recover from the considerable losses they incur during severe droughts.  Over the years, evidence of IBLI impact and value for money, and continued research and development on product design, as well as innovations along the service delivery chain has helped with uptake, in convincing governments and development partners of its importance as a risk management tool, and won IBLI a plethora of international awards.

Briefly describing the key elements of the IBLI agenda, this presentation focuses on how the IBLI team leveraged a suite of digital technologies – largely mobile based – to help scale some of the main obstacles to the provision of IBLI.  Even in the sparsely populated, drylands of Northern Kenya which the IBLI product targets, socioeconomic evolution has resulted in a growing density of mobile network coverage and a proliferation of mobile phone ownership, and use.  Exploiting this trend, the IBLI team and partners have developed mobile applications for offline sales transactions, drastically reduced the cost and time to delivery of indemnity payments, as well as a whole host of other applications in information exchange and knowledge dissemination.