Dr Aparajita Goyal, an economist in the World Banks Agriculture Department, confirmed the Banks belief in the transformative power of ICTs:
The World Banks participation in the ICT4Ag conference reaffirms our commitment to the use of ICT for agriculture in development and we recognise both the challenges and the promise of these new technologies.
Important efforts are underway now in some of our projects using Public Private Partnerships to build financially stable business models, which will help to achieve greater impact and scale.
The European Unions newly appointed Ambassador to Rwanda, Michael Ryan, who spoke in the opening session of the conference, shared the mood of optimism.
Its going to be Africas turn now in the coming years and we want to be there helping that launch, so that the prosperity African citizens deserve comes their way.
He emphasised that the EU had provided significant support to assist the development of agriculture in Africa and would continue to do so. In Rwanda alone, there are three major projects funded by the EU, which are each worth 40 million euros. He said that he did not exclude the possibility of a focus on ICT for agriculture in the future. The World Banks Dr Goyal added a note of caution, however:
While much encouraging work is taking place across the globe, there is much more that needs to be done in ICT for Agriculture to ensure that the scale of the response is commensurate with the needs of rural populations.
ICT4Ag international conference has been a major success for CTA and participants were delighted with the events innovative format.
Conferences this size are nearly always Powerpoint-led, said Giacomo Rambaldi, Senior Programme Coordinator ICT at CTA. But right from the outset, we decided that this one would be different that interaction would be at the core of the conference.
The conference has brought together people who often dont come together in the same forum, and I think it has put ICT firmly back on the international agenda, said CTA Director Michael Hailu. The conference attracted delegates from across the age spectrum, with young people playing a major role, and farmers sharing idea with ICT experts.