Information and stories about Africa.

Internet in Africa-TBPWhile most members of developing nations have access to the Internet in their homes, in their workplaces and in various public locations, many Africans struggle to access the Internet. Here are 10 facts about the progress and struggles regarding Internet in Africa:

1. In October 2007, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) held the first part of its Connect the World series in Kigali, Rwanda to demonstrate its commitment to foster development of telecommunications across Africa, a key aspect of the Millennium Development Goals.

2. As a continent, Africa has seen steady growth in Internet penetration since its rate of .78 percent in 2000. Internet has now reached 20.7 percent of Africa, but there are major disparities in Internet access and use across the continent.

3. The leading countries with the highest Internet penetration rates are Morocco at 56 percent, Egypt at 50 percent and South Africa at 49.8 percent. Meanwhile, various nations throughout the continent are still at rates below 2 percent. Despite these differences, all African nations have experienced Internet growth in recent years.

4. The majority of African countries have Internet penetration rates below 10 percent, which is well below the 20 percent benchmark rate determined for Internet access to benefit countries economically.

5. A total of 10.7 percent of African households have Internet access. Meanwhile, almost half of African Internet users access the Internet via mobile device. Social media usage accounts for about a third of Internet use for these users.

6. Bandwidth is significantly more scarce across Africa than in developing nations, making Internet access much more expensive across the continent. In recent years, increased investment in infrastructure such as national landing stations has allowed some bandwidth expansion, therefore slightly increasing capacity for connectivity.

7. According to Kojo Boakye, policy manager of the Alliance for Affordable Internet, no developing countries have met the ITU’s affordability benchmark of connectivity costing less than 5 percent of monthly income for the world’s potential users that survive on less than two dollars per day. He said that, for many countries in Africa, the cost of fixed broadband comprises almost half of an average citizen’s monthly income.

8. Internet users in Africa pay up to 40 times more for access than users in developed countries. There are many initiatives in place to decrease these rates, but there has been substantial difficulty in implementation. One of these goals involves establishing at least one Internet eXchange Point (IXP) in every African nation in order to promote the construction of infrastructure that makes Internet access cheaper and faster. Another initiative is in place to migrate from analog to digital broadcasting in order to free up unused spectrum, thus increasing access opportunities. However, by June 2014, only 19 countries had begun this transition and only three had completely transitioned. Another initiative is to accelerate adoption of IPv6, which ensures enough availability of IP addresses to allow anything capable of having an IP address to connect to the Internet. South Africa and Egypt account for 97 percent of all of the IPv6 addresses in the continent, which indicates major lagging for the rest of Africa. This development is seen as necessary for long term expansion of Internet.

9. The Internet contributes 1.1 percent to the overall African GDP, which is substantially lower than the global average contribution of over 4 percent. There are large disparities across the continent, with the contribution to GDP being 3.3 percent in Senegal and .8 percent in Nigeria. These rates are measured using iGDP, which evaluates use of networks and services in private consumption, public expenditure, private investment and trade balance.

10. Key players in Africa’s Internet community come together with global members of the industry for the annual Africa Internet Summit. Participants discuss the continent’s challenges and use it as a platform to exchange knowledge. This year’s conference was themed “Beyond connection: Internetworking for African Development,” and took place in Tunisia from May 24 – June 3.

– Arin Kerstein

Sources: All Africa, International Telecommunication Union, Internet Society, Africa Internet Summit, IT Web Africa
Photo: Africa Renewal

Mobile Technology to Provide Energy in AfricaKenya’s national energy grid reaches less than 20 percent of the country’s population, leaving millions of people in remote locations without access to energy in Africa. Because of this, many turn to alternatives sources of energy that are much more expensive and harmful to the environment, such as kerosene and diesel.

Developers have strived to solve this problem with solar micro-grid technology. However, in remote areas, it is difficult to keep a system working reliably and keep customers paying regularly. Recognizing Kenya’s utilization of mobile technology, the founders of SteamaCo have created technology that eliminates the necessity for constant outside intervention. SteamaCo’s development allows remote-management capabilities of monitoring, control, and payments for micro-grid owners via mobile technology.

This technology allows micro-grid operators to monitor grid performance via SMS updates on their cell phones and allows customers to manage their payments over mobile payment plans. Over 1,000 households and businesses currently depend on this technology, which is used at 25 sites in East Africa. The company’s software, Steama, facilitates 100 mobile payments and 4,000 messages regarding data per day.

While the company initially focused on the production and installation of renewable energy systems, it strayed to micro-grids in order to increase electricity access on a broader scale. Micro-grid owners buy the hardware and then SteamaCo licenses them the software on a monthly basis.

The company’s hardware switches on and off services remotely, while the operators can watch and control the system remotely in real-time using the cloud software. Steama processes monitoring information and payment notifications from mobile-money providers, updating the hardware accordingly when payments are made.

The software allows operators to view their micro-grids and extract data from the Steama dashboard, which provides them several options to observe and analyze system performance. Steama sends data regarding individual power usage, overall system performance and individual payments. It can also be programmed to send custom alerts. SteamaCo sends data via SMS messages because it is known to be one of the most reliable forms of communication off the grid.

These features allow micro-grids to function much more efficiently. The technology allows micro-grid owners to troubleshoot problems before they grow too serious, therefore saving companies time and money. It also helps them better analyze system capacity to see how they can expand the services they provide.

The technology provides consumers a cheap and reliable energy alternative to diesel, kerosene, and other popular systems. While in-home solar energy platforms are available to provide lighting and charge mobile phones in many locations, it is too expensive for most individual users to manage these off-grid systems. SteamaCo provides flexibility for customers who can prepay using mobile money programs in small amounts. The software also provides free balance checks and reminders when credit is low, all via SMS.

Payment depends on the micro-grid owner, but most customers pay a connection fee of approximately 10 U.S. dollars and then pay between two to four U.S. dollars per kWh used. By enabling customers to provide prepayments for small increments of power using mobile money, SteamaCo is opening up many possibilities for poor people in remote locations.

Along with increasing household convenience, increased access to energy in Africa also opens up many new business opportunities in remote areas. The technology allows high-power equipment to be used, including music systems, televisions, irons, and hair-dryers. The increased access to power has enabled local entrepreneurs to open up hair salons, electrical repair shops, and night clubs, all boosting the economy.

Not only does this technology bring more reliable energy to current users in Africa, but this reliability also provides a solution to a large issue seen by many potential investors in micro-grid technology. Because of this, Ashden International awarded SteamCo the Ashden International Gold and Business Innovation Awards for the company’s success in building technology that helps investment in micro-grids, therefore expanding the potential reach of electricity access significantly.

“SteamaCo’s innovative product is helping to take energy access in off-grid rural areas to the next level,” the Ashden judging panel stated. “By developing hardware and cloud-based software to remotely monitor energy use and payments, it has overcome one of the key barriers to making micro-grids investable.”

In its two years of installing these systems, SteamaCo has partnered with several micro-grid investors to increase grid efficiency. The company designed the hardware to be used with various types of technology, so several SteamaCo management systems are used in many off-grid areas. The company is looking to expand its opportunities in other remote areas to increase its reach and impact.

Arin Kerstein

Sources: Ashden, Global Energy Network Institute, The Guardian, Reuters, SteamaCo
Photo:The Sunday Times

pollution_sensing_technology
Malaria. HIV/AIDS. Tuberculosis. One of these must be the biggest cause of death in the developing world, right?

Wrong. It is pollution, not diseases, that causes the most deaths in developing countries. 8.4 million people’s lives are claimed each year by varying kinds of pollution. That is three times more deaths than those caused by malaria and four times more than those caused by HIV/AIDS.

India and Africa are areas where there are particularly serious problems. India, not China, is home to the world’s most polluted city: Delhi. The number of PM 2.5 particles, the world’s most dangerous pollution, capable of penetrating the lung and therefore entering straight into the bloodstreams of millions, reached 21 times the recommended limit recently.

These levels are twice as toxic as those in Beijing, the accepted pollution capital of the world. The pollution in India accounts for 1.3 million deaths a year. It also cuts 660 million lives short by three years. Three years off a life simply because of where a person is born or happens to live.

Pollution is also a danger in Africa, where Malaria and HIV/AIDS often take the headlines as leading killers on the continent. Gaborone, Botswana, ranks eighth in particulate pollution among cities that provided information about their pollution levels.

Besides outdoor pollution is an issue, there is also the problem of indoor pollution in both Africa and India. This is generated mostly from cooking with wood and other sooty fuels that clog up the air. Even more worrisome is the fact that Africa could account for at least half of the world’s population by 2030, due to its increased mining, oil, and biofuel industries that will go along with a rise in urbanization. Regulations are lax towards both indoor pollutants as well as corporate ones.

Never fear, however. New wearable pollution-sensing technology is on the way to save the day, or at least improve the situation somewhat. TZOA is producing a small gadget capable of informing wearers about the air they breathe. “TZOA uses internal sensors to measure your air quality, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, ambient light and UV (sun) exposure all in one wearable device.”

The device can hook up to an app on a phone to give air readings. It is not alone in the small pollution-sensing technology department. A device that doubles for a keychain, called Clarity, can perform a similar task to the TZOA. Clarity tracks “personal exposure to air pollution via a smartphone app,” just like the TZOA.

While these technologically advanced gizmos cannot reduce the drastic levels of pollution around the globe that are killing millions, what they can do is help provide data where it is lacking in areas where pollution is prevalent. Data is often not available, or not provided for some of the areas with the worst pollution.

The wearables also have the potential to raise awareness of the severity of the issue. Empowering those in the thick of the worst conditions has the potential to make the severity of the situation clearer to both governments and ordinary people. Armed with this information, both could take action because of the data provided by devices like TZOA and Clarity.

– Greg Baker

Sources: Tech Times, Inter Press Service, Huffington Post, BBC, Wired, New York Times
Photo: Tech Times

African-Women-in-Agriculture
The African Women in Agricultural Research and Development program (AWARD) seeks to realize the untapped potential of women scientists in Africa. As a career development program, AWARD offers competitive fellowships to African women in agriculture.

These women have a common goal to eliminate hunger and poverty in Africa through agricultural research. Research areas are widespread, but have included plant pathology, water management and poultry science. Fellowships have been granted to women from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds.

So, why women? Why is it specifically important to support female agricultural scientists in Africa?

Most African smallholder farmers are women, but only one in four agricultural researchers is female. There are traditional and cultural barriers to women’s participation in agricultural science and to education in general. In this traditionally male-dominated field, women need support to develop leadership skills.

The AWARD program offers mentorship and development of science and leadership skills for women in agriculture. The goal is to provide women with a position where their voices can be heard in the field of agricultural science. 390 African women scientists have benefitted from this program.

Food security will require changes in field and laboratory work, and women have much to offer in this area of study. Dr. Jane Ambuko, supported by the AWARD program, started a project to introduce farmers to a cold-storage option for their food products. The CoolBot system is less expensive than traditional cooling systems and can preserve fruits and vegetables.

According to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, “four billion dollars’ worth of food is lost annually due to inefficiencies across the agricultural value chain after crops are harvested.”

The CoolBot system and the work of Jane Ambuko offer a solution to combat food waste and improve the economic livelihoods of families in Africa. This is one example of a research innovation, developed by a woman, that can help save lives by reducing hunger. The goal to end global poverty is more attainable with the inclusion of women.

– Iliana Lang

Sources: African Women in Agricultural Research and Development, Agricultural Science & Technology Indicators, AGRA, Feed the Future
Photo: FAO

blackberry

In Nigeria and South Africa, Blackberry has launched its latest smartphone, the Blackberry Leap. According to the company, this smartphone offers more than a day’s battery life, even with heavy use.

This latest version of the phone has switched out its old keyboard to feature a new touchscreen, much like the Apple iPhone. The new touchscreen keyboard features error correction and multilingual support.

Many may question why a consumer would buy a Blackberry when there are much more popular phones like iPhone, Android and Samsung.

The Blackberry, jokingly referred to as the “Crackberry,” was once the must-have device for executives. It was the first smartphone that allowed easy and constant access to email and the Internet. The easy-to-use QWERTY keyboard allowed executives to respond to emails without being tied to a computer.

But with the emergence of the Apple iPhone, Blackberry quickly lost its dominance as the number one smartphone in the market.

Would you buy an unpopular smartphone? The answer from consumers in Africa is… yes.

Over the past four years, the Blackberry Curve has been the most popular smartphone in South Africa. A recent survey conducted by Vodacom in South Africa found that Blackberries make up 23 percent of the smartphone market. In Nigeria, Blackberries make up 40 percent of the smartphone market.

But why have Blackberry phones become so popular in African countries?

The first reason is that Blackberries are a status symbol; they were once the phones used by top executives. People strive to achieve the same success associated with the phones.

Additionally, an attractive feature of the Blackberry is its low-cost data bundles. In fact, Blackberry users can send messages for free using the Blackberry Messenger (BBM). This makes the phones well-suited for less capable mobile networks.

And lastly, Blackberries are able to stay updated without the purchase of a new smartphone. In developing countries, phones are upgraded less frequently. Before the introduction of the Blackberry Leap, the most up-to-date Blackberry in South Africa was 3 years old.

There is still room for growth for Blackberry in African countries. In a poll conducted by GeoPoll, 17 percent of people reported that they would buy a Blackberry as their next phone.

Blackberry is predicted to keep its number one spot in Africa as the most popular smartphone brand partly because of its popularity with students.

The Blackberry brand has transitioned from being known as the phone for high power executives to the most popular, affordable phone used in developing countries. Of course, affordability is an important aspect when purchasing a smartphone. Blackberry has allowed consumers in developing countries to afford a smartphone without sacrificing technology, mobile network service or various communication abilities.

– Kerri Szulak

Sources: Inside Blackberry, IT News Africa, The Conversation
Photo: TechLoy

Bill-and-Melinda-Gates-Foundation-Ghana
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation highly anticipates the probability that Africa can eliminate hunger by 2030. Investments by the Foundation have had a profound impact on Ghanaian and Sub-Saharan African government-led programs since 2009. These programs implement useful nutritional habits and information within communities. Bill and Melinda Gates refers to the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) program as “the backbone of the African economy.”

Every seven out of 10 Sub-Saharan Africans are small farmers. Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) is one branch of HGSF sustaining innovative ways to feed schoolchildren in the nation while benefiting farmers and their families. Partnership for Child Development (PCD) creates school meal planners designed for easy access and usage by each user.

The online tool available at GSFP’s website provides locally available ingredients for users to select and design their preferred plan. They can find farmers by diet and cost. It is especially useful to program managers. Daily recommended consumption of specific nutrients as conditioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) is illustrated on gingerbread-children graphics for basic educational purposes.

The planner is also available by other means than internet access. There are 400 community health leaders talking with the public while handing out thousands of health posters and distributing radio-jingles. These teach organizers and families practical hygienic practices to keep children safe and healthy.

According to WHO, 13.4 percent of children less than 5 years of age were underweight in 2011. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gives substantial aid to the cause. The University of Michigan obtained a $3 million grant from the foundation in 2008.

The university long awaited the chance to enhance health and raise the capacity for governmental aptitude in Ghana. Their goal was to improve human resources by focusing on specific enhancement routes such as developing reliable data systems. They also sought to educate health workers.

In 2013, Gates met with PCD and GSFP representatives discussing concrete endeavors administered by HGSF. By meeting with local farmers, teachers and caterers, Gates learned how GSFP also helps the economic development as farmers get access to the market chain. Other prominent issues needing to be addressed aligned with beneficial crop storage services and how farmers and school caterers were communicating.

Since funding the University of Michigan’s global relief plan run by the Center for Global Health (CGH) and participating in groundwork surveillance, Bill and Melinda Gates have coordinated a list of necessities that will ensure a nourished future. To start with, farmers should have better outputs when seed and fertilizer are easily accessible.

They note also that fostering different foods will allow for an assortment of crops and a more diverse selection of sustenance. Embracing new technology, such as mobile phones, will provide quick access to useful farming information. Finally, when crop storage improves, harvests can market conveniently.

Among Bill and Melinda’s outline are also suggestions for modifying food production and delivery. They point out the GSFP as a successful program as caterers design nutritional meals for their school. Farmers can communicate with schools using the planner by knowing when food is needed and what the general outline is for each meal plan and budget. Free nutritional meals are given to 1.7 million children daily thanks to the GSFP.

The outline by Gates goes on to distinguish how other programs under HGSF have succeeded in improving African economy. Zanzibar’s HGSF trained farmers to grow orange fresh sweet potatoes that are rich in Vitamin C. The program in Kenya utilizes mobile phones to increase communication between farmers and schools. Osun State created over 3,000 jobs for caterers and factory workers.

According to Bill and Melinda Gates, if efforts to beat malnutrition continue, by 2030 Africa will be resilient when facing the issue of malnutrition. They predict that a focus on agriculture is the key to witnessing food security in Africa.

– Katie Groe

Sources: Impatient Optimists, Home Grown School Feeding, WHO
Photo: Vox

feed_the_futureDaniel Obare used to be a subsistence farmer. His family ate most of the tomatoes and green peppers he grew, and he sold the surplus on the side. Today, he cultivates watermelons on three acres of land and uses cutting-edge farming techniques. He and his family have experienced a huge lifestyle improvement thanks to the agricultural guidance of USAID’s Feed the Future initiative.

Most Tanzanian farmers do not have the training or equipment required to properly use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They use untreated seeds planted at random distances apart in sunken beds and often rely on rainfall for precious irrigation. These inefficient techniques result in lower yields, farms that are more vulnerable to extreme weather and high levels of pollution caused by chemical runoff.

In September 2014, Obare attended a farmer’s convention in Mbeya called the Nane Nane Fair. There, he met members of the Tanzania Horticultural Association, a group run by Tanzanians and supported by USAID.

With their help, Obare learned more modern farming techniques and dramatically increased his yield. “My lifestyle has completely changed. For instance, my daughter, who was in a government school, has been transferred into a private school that has more facilities. I can confidently pay 1.5 million TZS [$740] for her annual school fees,” Obare said.

Obare’s experience in Tanzania is indicative of a greater trend throughout Africa. USAID’s Feed the Future initiative works in 12 African nations supporting groups like the Tanzania Horticultural Association. The programs differ by country, from the small farmer training and support in Tanzania to trade hub programs in Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique.

“The trade hub provides targeted technical assistance to governments, the private sector and civil society organizations to advance regional trade within southern Africa while incorporating gender integration, environment compliance and strategic outreach in all activities,” a USAID report stated.

Feed the Future is ultimately trying to give developing nations a strong economic base in sustainable agriculture. Their initiatives focus on efficiency, resilience in the face of a changing climate and gender equality. Their impact has been felt by small farmers and administrators alike.

James Bever, a former mission director for USAID, is enthusiastic about the program’s potential. When asked about the Feed the Future programs in Ghana, he told reporters that agribusiness has the potential to really take off, especially in northern Ghana.

“It is a sustainable model and we are extremely excited about it,” he said. “I think Ghana is in the path to an agricultural revolution that really can turn the northern part of the country to a bread basket and reduce imports. The north is where there is a real potential for quick improvement in grain production such as rice, white and yellow maize and sorghum, which are marketable.”

The dedication of local agricultural groups is turning USAID’s support into skills and their goals into reality. More farmers are being helped every day, and despite the challenges they face, small farmers in Africa are living markedly better lives.

– Marina Middleton

Sources: Feed the Future 1, Business Ghana USAID 1, Feed the Future 2 USAID 2
Photo: Flickr

everjobs

Everjobs, an online job portal created by Rocket Internet, has begun operations in Dakar, Senegal. This job portal was created to simplify the job search and hiring process by connecting job seekers with employers.

Everjobs is also currently operating in eight other developing countries, including Myanmar, Bangladesh and Cambodia.

This online job portal supports Senegal’s new initiative, “Plan Senegal Emergent.” With this initiative, Senegal seeks to establish itself as an emerging country by 2035. With a hope to better lives for generations to come, youth employment is at the top of this agenda.

Because Everjobs is online, it is hoping to attract tech savvy youths. This strategy focuses on complying with Senegal’s initiative for youth employment.

Everjobs hopes to pave the way for Senegalese to match their skills and create a career path. It focuses on the job seeker’s core skills, expertise and interests in order to explore potential career paths that suit the seeker. By taking into account these factors, this type of application process categorizes jobs that are not suitable for the job seeker.

One feature that sets Everjobs apart from other job portals is the expert Job Journal. This feature provides the job seeker with knowledge that will motivate, inspire and track their progress while using the job portal.

Everjobs addresses the need to focus on industries with a high turnover rate, such as hospitality and banks. This aspect will help Senegalese to have the opportunity to work in these industries, gain job experience and hopefully find a career they enjoy.

The co-founder and Managing Director for Africa, Eric Lauer said, “Heads of HR are concerned that a lack of basic CV writing knowledge and poor interview preparation resources have contributed to a fall in employability among its youth.”

With the resources provided by Everjobs, the youth of Senegal will gain the necessary skills in order to complete a successful resume, leave a lasting impression during an interview and gain employment. In order to fulfill Senegal’s initiative, “Plan Senegal Emergent,” it is imperative for the youth to learn the skills to gain employment. With the help of Everjobs, this can be achieved.

Senegal has set a fast pace plan to move from a developing country to an emerging country in as little as 20 years. Because of the online component of Everjobs, it is attractive to the youth seeking employment. With access to an easy to use, resourceful online job portal like Everjobs, Senegal will transition into an emerging country. With the many resources that Senegal’s youth need in order to gain employment, Everjobs will bring about the change Senegalese have been hoping for.

– Kerri Szulak

Sources: CP Africa, IT News Africa
Photo: Senegal Business Services

Somalia-Malnutrition
Over the past years, famine and food insecurity have threatened the lives of thousands of people in Somalia. These threats were, and are, some of the worst in decades. The famine in 2011 was the first famine in the Horn of Africa in over 30 years—it killed 250,000 people. Currently, about 1 million people in Somalia are food insecure and are in desperate need of assistance. There are around 236,000 children under 5 who are malnourished.

What makes Somalia so prone to these famines and to having high malnutrition rates?

For 20 years, Somalia has been in conflict. Civil war destroyed the nation. It affects how much food can be grown and destroys crops. People have to flee and cannot tend to their crops and livestock.

The conflict left the country in a state of political turmoil. So, when the drought hit in 2011, Somalia was unable to deal with the disaster. People did not receive aid from the government and foreign aid had difficulty reaching its people.

Droughts, as well as floods, continue to plague Somalia. Having crops destroyed every so many years makes it difficult to make progress in decreasing the malnutrition rate. Additionally, with a still unstable government, aid was not there. In 2014, the country once again had a threat of another famine, with up to 3 million people in need of aid.

Also contributing to the cause of high malnutrition rates is the lack of development in the younger generations. Only 42 percent of children are enrolled in school, with less than half of them being girls. Young people make up 42 percent of the population, with 67 percent of them unemployed because of a lack of education.

Without an education, these youths cannot get jobs to earn a steady income, one that would be enough to provide food for their children. The children are raised in poverty, with little food. Unlikely to escape poverty, the next generation will most likely fall in the same category. It is a difficult cycle to break, one that can contribute to the high malnutrition rates in Somalia.

Despite the hardship in Somalia, the World Food Program continues to work in Somalia to lower malnutrition rates. They provide job vocational trainings so that youths can get a job. They hand out food rations to attract parents to send their children, especially daughters to school. The WFP continues to provide nutritional and health aid in Somalia.

– Katherine Hewitt

Sources: Action Against Hunger, BBC, Huffington Post, WFP, UNICEF
Photo: Global Giving

mozambican_farmers
In order to help improve access opportunities between smallholder farmers and private sector distributors in Mozambique, the United States Agency For International Development (USAID) initiated four public-private partnerships amounting to $30 million in 2014. On June 3, USAID signed four memorandums of understanding to further propel the partnerships into action. The memorandums were signed in the presence of Deputy Minister of Agriculture Luisa Meque, and U.S. Ambassador Douglas Griffiths.

USAID launched the partnerships as a part of Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, a program that creates partnerships for development between USAID missions and the private sector. The partnerships in Mozambique are predicted to increase opportunities for 50,000 smallholder farmers in the provinces of Manica, Nampula, Tete and Zambezia.

The project has partnered the U.S.’s National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International with farmer-owned company IKURU and start-up seed-provider Phoenix Seeds to facilitate better distribution of services and inputs. Various representatives from IKURU and Phoenix Seeds will also be trained to better serve small communities. This partnership is expected to assist 10,000 smallholder farmers within three years.

Export Marketing Company Limited, Agro Tractors and Techno Brain have also partnered to create 23 retail hubs comprised of agro-input retailers, equipment suppliers and storage facilities to benefit 23,000 smallholder farmers. Rental services and training workshops will be available for farmers, along with new market opportunities.

Additionally, 10,000 Mozambican farmers in Zambezia and Nampula will receive access to imported seeds and inputs through the new partnership between Portuguese supplier Lusosem Mocambique, Lda., Colorado-based International Development Enterprises and HUB Assistancia Technica e Formacao. The partnership will involve guidance in agro-dealer expansion and training for agribusiness development in rural communities.

Through the final partnership, Illinois-based Opportunity International will provide financial training to Banco Oportunidade de Mozambique in order to provide banking services for 5,000 sesame and soybean farmers.

These partnerships are part of a larger 10-year strategic agricultural development plan developed by USAID with the Mozambican government. According to USAID, Mozambique’s agricultural sector provides employment for the vast majority of the nation’s labor force and has the potential to boost the country’s economic growth significantly. Additionally, USAID in Mozambique focuses on agricultural development in order to create sustainable systems, which can ultimately decrease malnutrition and poverty rates throughout the country.

– Arin Kerstein

Sources: All Africa, Feed the Future, Partnering For Innovation, Star Africa, USAID
Photo: Feed the Future