More Industry InsightsIn Africa, the 15% internet penetration rate in rural areas undermines the potential of women farmers (ITU)

October 20, 2022by myles0

As hunger increased in the world in 2021 according to the United Nations, it is becoming urgent to review production systems. The Internet and digital are becoming assets with which to deal with to meet the global commitment to end food insecurity by 2030.

Rural areas in Africa remain ill-prepared for digital transformation so far, despite harboring great potential for development. The penetration rate there is still only 15%, indicates the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in its report “Global Connectivity Report 2022”. Or 3.5 times less. According to the specialized agency of the United Nations, this situation represents an obstacle to the development of the continent, particularly in a strategic sector such as agriculture.

During the celebration of World Rural Women’s Day on Saturday 15 October, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, the new Secretary General of ITU, explained that internet connectivity has the power to transform the work of rural women in Africa which produce ”  70% of the food  ” of the continent. For her, increasing their access to technologies is a vital task for ITU.

By allowing them, among other things, to monitor crops, access information on the climate or even on the need for water, cultivation techniques, the cultivation seasons of certain plants, connectivity can allow them to get out of traditional agricultural methods. and to adapt to the changing world to improve the quality and quantity of their productions.

“  In Africa, only 34% of women on average currently use the Internet compared to 45% for men. This gap is greater in less developed countries where less than a third of women have access to the Internet. Rural women face more barriers because ITU data shows that only 15% of Africa’s rural population is currently connected compared to 50% of the urban population  ,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin.

In its report “Status of digital agriculture in 47 sub-Saharan African countries”, the World Food Fund (FAO) estimates that sub-Saharan sub-Saharan Africa “with the largest area of ​​uncultivated arable land in the world, a young population of around 60% and vast natural resources is in a unique position to double or even triple its current agricultural productivity”. For him, such an increase in agricultural productivity driven by the Internet and digital technology would lift more than 400 million people, who live on $1.9 or less a day, out of extreme poverty and improve the means livelihoods of around 250 million smallholder farmers and pastoralists in the region.

Doreen Bogdan-Martin revealed that ITU has already mobilized more than $28 billion to date to expand internet access across the world, including bridging the digital divide in rural areas for marginalized communities and groups. , women and girls.

Source: Agence Ecofin

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