Globally, digital transformation is changing the narrative in every sector and is likely to be the next major game-changer in Africa especially within the agricultural space- agritechs, foodtechs and fintechs are the fastest growing sectors. Information Communication Technology (ICT) is conspicuously featured in the African Union Development Agenda 2063 (AU’s blueprint and masterplan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future). ICT will unlock a great potential to significantly spur economic growth, facilitate value chains and improve food and nutrition security globally.
With a considerable number of African economies and smallholder farming families largely dependent on agriculture, this will translate into poverty alleviation- a favourable prospect in addressing the priorities of the continent for a better Africa. The digital age has inspired new technological tools and innovations that increase agricultural productivity and aid in delivering real-time outcomes.
The past decade has witnessed impressive strides in technology advancements in Africa through the application of digital technology in providing mobile and cloud services, weather and climate data, facilitating cash and agricultural input credit through mobile finance, improving market access and traceability, farm mapping, softwares / digital applications and the extensive use of drones. These novel products have become extremely useful and convenient especially in the era of the Covid-19 pandemic where accessing data and services remotely is a safer option.
Digital transformation still holds the key to sustainable success in transforming millions of lives through African Agriculture- the revolution has just begun and despite the slow rate of adoption amidst other challenges, there is still more to be explored and upscaled by the very dynamic, active and youthful African population. The need for all relevant stakeholders to provide financial resources, capacity strengthening, infrastructure, and contextual policies to promote the strategic use of digital tools for sustainable development in agriculture remains an indisputable obligation.
Rosalyne N.N. Baddoo
Head of Value Chains and Farmer Partnerships