The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Microsoft have entered a partnership to stimulate digital transformation in Africa’s agriculture sector.
The IFC and Microsoft through the Africa Transformation Office (ATO), in a session during Adaptation and Agriculture Day at COP27 in Egypt showcased their partnership to support digital transformation in Africa’s agriculture sector to support the achievement of this goal.
IFC and Microsoft in a joint statement noted that the partnership is delivering digital agriculture products that support African agribusinesses to strengthen food security and develop greater resilience against climate change.
“The partnership makes digital tools and training resources more accessible to small-scale farmers and agriculture-linked small businesses.
“Through the partnership, digital tools such as Microsoft’s AgBot and Community Training applications are integrated with IFC’s Agribusiness Leadership Programme to provide better information, newer technologies, and management capacity training to agribusinesses, farmers and cooperatives,” they noted.
IFC’s Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services in Africa, Henrik Elschner Pedersen, said: “Digital technology can improve the operation of key supply chains in the food system by boosting production, improving business practices, promoting traceability and increasing access to finance. However, the use of digital tools in Africa’s agriculture sector remains limited, often because of infrastructure, affordability, awareness, and regulatory issues.
“IFC and Microsoft are working together to change this, so more agricultural players in Africa can leverage the power of the digital economy,” he said.
Managing Director for Microsoft ATO, Kunle Awosika, said the changing climate presents new future opportunities for farmers in relation to emerging markets for carbon credits, regenerative agriculture, and the application of ‘Nature-based Services’.
However, he said these new opportunities need to be underpinned by robust management and reporting systems, adding that these are precisely the systems that are supported by the new suite of digital tools.
“By using digital channels, agronomic and business sensitive information is delivered directly to smallholder farmers to help improve productivity as well as mitigate the risks associated with climate change and unexpected weather events. Combined, the digital tools encourage improved farming practices, more sustainable and resilient farming practices and greater efficiencies in resource use,” said Awosika.