The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) has announced the eight regional finalists of the 2019 Innovating Justice Challenge.

The eight finalists, including five Nigerian startups and enterprises, namely, Africlaim, Bankly, Community Peace Initiative, Flemer Project Initiative and Vesicash, will be presenting their innovative solutions to a panel of international experts, who will select three winners. Other finalists are from Benin Republic, Ghana and Senegal.

The winners of the West Africa Regional Finals, which is one of the four HiiL's events taking place across Africa, will receive €20,000 (₦8 million) in grant funding and join HiiL's Justice Accelerator. This will grant the selected startups access to HiiL's global network of experts, training and business development support, and exposure to the international community.

According to Odunoluwa Longe, HiiL's Country Representative, West Africa, other regional finals on the continent will take place Southern Africa, East Africa and Uganda. She said, "Uganda is treated as a separate region from the rest of East Africa as we have different donors funding the accelerator initiatives in both regions", adding that HiiL's Justice Accelerator activities just started in North Africa and it will be full-fledged next year.

We received a few interesting applications from the region [North Africa] and may admit some into our Accelerator but will not be holding a Regional Final event there this year.

Since the Innovating Justice Challenge launched in 2012, the HiiL Justice Accelerator has identified and supported more than 90 justice innovations in different parts of the world. As a social enterprise based in The Hague—international city of Peace and Justice, HiiL aims to equip 150 million people to be able to prevent and resolve their most pressing justice problems easily by 2030.

Side Note: The International Court of Justice (AKA the World Court) which adjudicates international legal disputes, is located in The Hague.

Last year, two Nigerian startups, namely, LawPadi and Legit Car, joined the HiiL Accelerator. Cumulatively, six Nigerian startups, including Wemora, IMAPP, DIYLaw and FarmWorkerzApp, have been part of HiiL Accelerator programme.

The West Africa Regional Finals is scheduled to hold on November 14, 2019, at the Netherlands Embassy in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Jan van Weijen, Consul-General of the Netherlands, will deliver the welcome address; Justice Yetunde Adesanya, Chairman of the Small Claims Court Committee, will deliver the keynote address; and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, will be speaking on Making the SDGs a Nigerian Reality through entrepreneurship and innovation.

Other speakers and panelists expected at the Regional Finals include:

  • Mrs Funke Adekoya, SAN, Partner at Aelex
  • Mr Yemi Candide-Johnson, SAN, Partner at Strachan Partners
  • Mrs Kemi Eweje, FCIArb, Partner at Patreli Partners
  • Ms Theodora Kio-Lawson, Manager of Legal Business at Business Day
  • Mrs Solape Hammond, Co-founder and CEO of Impact Hub
  • Mr Dotun Olowoporoku, Associate Investment Director at Novastar Ventures
  • Ms Nichole Yembra, Managing Partner at Chrysallis Advisors

Meet the 2019 Innovating Justice Challenge West Africa Regional Finalists

HiiL Application and Accelerator Programme

1. Africlaim

Africlaim is a two-year-old Nigerian startup on a mission to ensure air passengers are protected across Africa. Founded by Chibuzo Ofulue and Ifeanyi Ezechukwu, Africlaim has helped thousands of air passengers across the continent to secure compensations for flight disruptions, including cancellation, delays and overbooking.

2. Appruve

Appruve is the flagship product of Inclusive Innovations Inc., a Ghanian startup. Appruve is built to enable identity verification across Africa. Appruve's APIs can classify and detect images, videos and identity documents of over 60 million Africans. It is already being used by businesses all over the world to onboard and verify African individuals and businesses.

Paul Kwesi Damalie, CEO of Inclusive Innovations (Appruve), is also part of the 2019 Fbstart Accelerator Cohort. Odunoluwa told benjamindada.com, "We are aware that Appruve was admitted to FbStart Accelerator. I actually mentor a few FbStart companies".

If he gets selected into HiiL Accelerator, it won't be an issue as both accelerators are focused on different aspects of a business. We are focused on impact, while FbStart is more focused on the tech.

3. Bankly

Bankly is a USSD-based savings and cash digitization service that enables customers to save and convert their cash to digital money through vouchers and agents. According to the CEO and Co-founder of Bankly, Tomilola Adejana, Bankly has onboarded more than 5,000 agents since its launch in 2018. It is supported by Interswitch, Accion Venture Lab, Providus Bank, and Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA).

4. Community Peace Initiative

Communal peace is sustained when the conflicting parties are part of the conflict
resolution process. Community Peace Initiative seeks to promote peace and justice
in conflicting communities in Northern Nigeria by engaging their traditional and
religious leaders to resolve communal conflicts.

5. Liliane

Liliane is the brainchild of Lay BETTER Consulting, a legal training and consulting firm in Benin Republic. Through its conversational mobile bot Liliane, Lay BETTER provides legal advice in more than 10 areas of law to entrepreneurs, students, and artisans in Benin Republic.

6. SunuLex

Founded by Nafissatou TINE, SunuLex aims to be the leading law portal in Senegal. It also facilitates access to law by connecting citizens to service providers such as lawyers and paralegals. SunuLex provides free short videos explaining the rights of Senegalese citizens and procedures for enforcing them.

7. The Flemer Project Initiative

The Free Legal Medical Rehabilitation (Flemer) Project Initiative, supported by Civic Hive, is an incentive-based volunteer system enabled by technology to provide legal representation for indigents awaiting trial detainees in Nigeria.

8. Vesicash

Founded in 2018 by Ibrahim Oladele and Tomisin Adeshiyan, Vesicash is an escrow platform. Its proprietary payment process creates a unique environment of trust and security through accountability and transparency. Vesicash digital dispute resolution mechanism resolves digital transaction dispute in less than 72 hours.