AfDB in talks on the use of technology to empower women in agriculture

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The African Development Bank held high-level consultations with the Dutch government about developing a platform for providing women with market information to enhance their participation in agricultural trade.

The Bank’s Special Envoy on Gender, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi and experts from the Centre for the Promotion of Imports (CBI) from developing countries, a unit under the Dutch’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, explored options of designing a user friendly platform to ensure needs of women were met.

Of importance was how to address gaps prohibiting women from accessing relevant information that can help them reap maximum profits from agriculture. The SEOG emphasised the need for timely, accurate and transparent information, and the economic empowerment of women in the sector.

She pointed out that the initiative was opportune, given the African Union Commission’s (AUC) declaration of 2015, as the “Year of Women Economic Empowerment”.  The Special Envoy expressed the urgent need to go beyond conventional approaches in meeting the information needs of women.  “It is time to employ innovative ways in alleviating gender-based constraints in agricultural trade,” said Moleketi.

The July 6th-7th, 2015 discussions were held at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan. They focused on designing, developing and implementing an Agricultural Trade and Investment Market Intelligence Platform. 

Just recently, the office of the SEOG completed a study on “Women in Agricultural Value Chains”, which identified gaps including information asymmetry, that compound market access constraints. The Market Intelligence Platform will serve as a knowledge-driven one-stop-shop, closing market access information gaps that deter women, youth and men from equitable, profitable and sustainable participation in agricultural trade. 

CBI experts lauded the platform’s market intelligence aspect, saying it provided exporters/users with practical tips that had a direct boost to their businesses and sustained market share”.

The Bank’s Director of Agriculture and Agribusiness department, Chiji Ojukwu, reiterated the initiative’s potential to contribute to improved intra-African agricultural trade and regional economic integration.  He described it as an innovative and transformative catalytic tool for Africa’s inclusive agricultural trade-driven economic and developmental growth.