ICTs for Development

Markets and Value Chains

Harnessing ICT strategies for ACP agriculture

September 19, 2013

The 2003 and 2005 World Summits on the Information Society called for the development of ICT strategies for all sectors. But more is needed required to formulate effective e-agriculture strategies in ACP countries.

Today, there is barely a community in our 'global village' that has not felt the effects of the ICT revolution. Most of these people are now regular users of mobile phones and keen consumers of ICTs. Governments in both the developed and developing worlds have responded by formulating ICT policies, putting in place regulatory frameworks and establishing institutional infrastructures. Their aim is to facilitate and bring order to these e-developments that are rapidly changing the world we live in.

The World Summits on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva in 2003 and Tunis 2005 aimed to bridge the global digital divide by expanding access to ICTs in developing countries. Agriculture was less of a focus than health and education during these events, but a call to develop ICT strategies for all sectors, including agriculture, was issued at these summits.

Since these world summits, some countries in the ACP group of nations, such as Rwanda, have massively accelerated their efforts and have already advanced from building early e-government trial websites to developing next-generation smart devices and apps. By contrast, other countries such as Nauru and Burundi were much slower to develop e-strategies and risk missing the boat as far as mainstream ICT developments are concerned.