There are close to 900 million mobile phone subscribers in Africa. Sixty-five percent of the continent’s labor force works in agriculture or related sectors and it accounts for 32% of the gross domestic product. Mobile innovations are already improving efficiencies in the agricultural value chain; research shows that grain traders with mobile application usage experienced income growth of 29% and banana farmers in Uganda saw their revenues go up with 36%.
The mAgri Challenge, a business competition, has been designed to identify and support entrepreneurs developing mobile apps for agriculture in Africa. Africa is no stranger to competitons. BBA has kept us glued to out TV sets. It’s understandable why competitions are en vogue. They are fun, they are not very expensive and they are a great way to reach a young and growing tech-savvy audience.Too many quick competitions for mobile apps, which at first seemed cool and generated lots of attention, have left in their wake a pool of mobile entrepreneurs confused about the next steps they can take to grow their business.
Unfortunately, some of the past competitions have ended with the award of prizes but missed the chance to continue to support talented mobile entrepreneurs as they develop their businesses. This is not the case here. World Bank will support/supports mobile technology entrepreneurs as they take their products all the way down the path from mind to market – from the idea stage to a point of sustainable growth.
They reiterate that:
“We ensure that our initiatives are linked to other opportunities along that path, to maximize each entrepreneur’s chance of success. With every successful, growing new company, entrepreneurs create high-value jobs that contribute to their country’s economies, reduce brain drain and improve competitiveness. This journey from mind to market was at the forefront of the design process for the mAgri Challenge, where we relied on a number of lessons drawn from our own and others’ experiences with mobile app competitions.”
This project gets a big thumbs up from me because it shows that the World Bank sees the value of the youth in Agric‘s future.
Time to round up my geek squad.
Ciao Bellas xx
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