Microsoft 4Afrika and IFC Collaborate to Drive Digital Transformation in Africa’s Agribusiness Sector
With the aim of supporting digital transformation in the African agri-food sector, modernizing supply chains and increasing farmers’ productivity and incomes, Microsoft, through its 4Afrika initiative, and IFC have entered into a partnership to make digital tools and training resources more accessible to small businesses. farmers and small businesses related to agriculture.
According to Microsoft Country Manager for Kenya, Kendi Nderitu, said the partnership will leverage Microsoft’s unique digital platforms 4Afrika and IFC’s Agribusiness Leadership program to help smallholder farmers, their cooperatives and “last mile retailers. »To access information and digital tools to strengthen agricultural practices, strengthen business professionalism and improve food safety and traceability throughout the supply chain.
Nderitu, further informed that a mobile platform will be tested among farmers, especially in Kenya, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Uganda. The first pilots aim to support 50,000 farmers and at least 50 cooperatives.
“Digital technology can improve the functioning of key supply chains in the food system through greater agricultural efficiency, improved business practices, traceability, food security and access to finance.
“However, the use of digital tools in the African agricultural sector remains limited, often due to issues of infrastructure, affordability, awareness and regulation. Agribusiness contributes around 25 percent of Africa’s GDP and 70 percent of its jobs.
“Now more than ever, we need to pay close attention to how agro-technological organizations are digitally transforming, the challenges they face in acquiring new technologies and the day-to-day challenges they may face in the field. the development of digital skills.
“Microsoft’s 4Afrika strategy is to invest in agro-tech to unleash Africa’s dynamic potential, accelerating innovation in agro-tech to enable data-driven agriculture that can optimize yields , increase agricultural productivity and increase profitability – while feeding a nation. “
Also speaking on development, the Acting Regional Director of Industry, Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services, Middle East and Africa, Samuel Dzotefe, noted that: “Digital technologies have the power to transform agriculture to small scale in Africa. By making digital tools more accessible to farmers, co-ops and last mile retailers, Microsoft and IFC can together help the food industry take advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital economy.
About 155 million people faced acute food insecurity in 2020 in 55 countries or territories, an increase of about 20 million people from 2019, according to the 2021 Global Food Crises Report.
Of the 10 countries with the most food insecure people, six were in Africa.
Microsoft 4Afrika strongly believes that digital technology is a way to boost agricultural production and efficiency.
The partnership will include Microsoft’s KuzaBot mobile discussion platform, which will accelerate and facilitate the dissemination of vital information to farmers on good agricultural and business practices.
IFC’s Agribusiness Leadership program, which will be available on the Microsoft Community Training (MCT) platform, will help small businesses, aggregators and agricultural cooperatives improve their professionalism, productivity and creditworthiness.
In the long term, the partnership between Microsoft and IFC aims to deepen understanding of the factors that drive the adoption and use of digital solutions among smallholder farmers, farmer cooperatives and other actors in the business chain. agricultural supply.
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