Making digitalization work for African agriculture: The role of the enabling environment

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Fourth in a series of blog posts on the release of the 2020 Annual Trends and Outlook Report (ATOR) during the virtual 2020 ReSAKSS Annual Conference Nov. 3–5. The theme of the 2020 ATOR is Sustaining Africa’s Agrifood System Transformation: The Role of Public Policies. This post is based on Chapter 13. Read the other posts herehere, and here.

The rapid proliferation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) offers great promise for transforming smallholder agriculture in Africa. Going beyond the narrow view of “technologies” as a tool, the broader concept of “digitalization” is a potential game changer. Building climate resilience for smallholder farmers to boost productivity; improving access to financing for all stakeholder groups to increase profitability along the value chain; and addressing social inclusion gaps for youth, women, and other marginalized groups are some of the areas that digitalization can be effectively deployed in building more efficient food systems.

As African countries contend with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, meanwhile, providing an enabling environment for digitalization in agriculture will not only support food systems but also the entire development agenda of the continent.

Photo credit: Melissa Cooperman/IFPRI

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