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Abalobi – Fisher on the beach, pic no 2

A social enterprise supporting small-scale fishing communities with data, traceability and market platforms in Africa

A social enterprise supporting small-scale fishing communities with data, traceability and market platforms in Africa

Project Lead: ABALOBI
Financial Support: Received mentoring, training and financial support from the second cycle of the Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC), which was financially supported by Swiss Re Foundation and the UK Government’s Blue Planet Fund. ABALOBI also received funding from the Government of Canada.
Location: South Africa


ABALOBI employs 50 people, half of whom reside in fisher communities. It is based in South Africa, where it has the lion’s share of its operations, with smaller projects in the Seychelles. ORRAA is supporting ABALOBI’s financial services offering. Through a combination of technology, skills development and co-design, fishers who use the ABALOBI Marketplace can divert a portion of their income into a savings account – saving as set percentages of the catch revenue, building a fund for key boat or household expenses, and other essential needs during their off season.

ABALOBI is a winner of the 2022 Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC22) and was announced as an Earthshot Prize 2023 Finalist.


Small scale fishers in Africa and the global South in general, find it hard to access finance or build financial management skills. They are in a very real sense financially excluded. Their cash position fluctuates with the seasons and how much they catch as well as with customer payment terms. They are unable to access savings, loans, credit and insurance products. This leads to coastal communities living precariously, often hand-to-mouth, sometimes in debt to loan sharks. The nature of these pressures means they have less resilience to the impact of external shocks.  


To solve this challenge ABALOBI runs a platform for small scale fishers through a technical application that can be used on smart phones.  The App provides a full suite of tools that combine e-commerce with logistics, deliveries and digital payment gateway integrations as well as marketing, data services, training and community development. Moreover, it gives fishers access to financial services, including savings accounts, and exposure and experience in financial management. This creates an enabling environment for a transition to fully reported fisheries, fisheries rebuilding and conservation.  

Scalability and Next Steps

Today, ABALOBI’s platform is deployed in South Africa the Seychelles, Palau, Kenya, Madagascar, Ireland, Chile, and Comoros. It works through partners and a replication model in its other jurisdictions across the world. Its 2026 vision, “Marking the next stage in its growth”, envisions itself becoming a global catalyst of fisher-driven technology, small-scale fisheries markets and financial services provider. Each deployment reaches profitability within a few years, and, after that, it contributes to the scaling of the global programme. 

ORRAA is supporting ABALOBI to further improve and expand its bundled financial services offering savings and business cash advance, improve sign-up and support as more fishers are onboarded. This will scale the savings mechanism currently in pilot to all participating fishers. ABALOBI is also exploring insurance products tailored to small-scale fishers’ unique challenges and needs. ORRAA team members are advising ABALOBI on its strategy to scale in Southern Africa and globally.