African Development Bank (AFDB), has urged Nigeria and other African countries to explore digital options that can be easily deployed to tackle disruptions to food systems, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speakers during a Webinar hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) iInvestment Centre, and the AFDB stressed that Africa must seize the opportunity of the COVID-19 pandemic to deepen the digitalization of agricultural value chains and transform the sector.
The online meeting hosted to discuss transforming agriculture in Africa through digitalisation, had in attendance about 500 people, representing agri-tech, telecom, government agency implementers, policymakers, farmers and development partners
The panellists included Business Development Manager, Vodacom Business, Nigeria, Wuraola Jinadu; Digital Adviser, Office of the Prime Minister, Ethiopia, Myriam Said; Agricultural Transformation Agency, Ethiopia, Mao Yohannes; Programme Officer, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions, Benito Eliasi; and Digital Country Lead, UN Capital Development Fund, Uganda; Chris Lukolyo.
They identified potential investments for the digital transformation of African agriculture during and after COVID-19, ranging from digital profiling of value chain actors to mobile payments and e-commerce. They also stressed the need for necessary policy and regulatory frameworks for inclusiveness, scalability and viability such as data governance and protection, digital financial products, digital ID systems, e-contracts, and e-extension services.
They further proposed the bundling of digital services, agri-tech innovation challenges, and open systems to help build financially viable supply capacity.
FAO Investment Centre Director, Mohamed Manssouri, said: “Efforts need to be catalysed on both the policy and investment fronts for digitalization, to help make agri-food systems more productive, more inclusive and more sustainable in the future.”