Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Emerging market SMEs in the information and communication technologies (ICT) and agribusiness sectors

May 30 to June 3, 2011. infoDev’s 4th Global Forum on Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship was held in Helsinki, Finland. The event was carried out within the framework of a joint program with the Government of Finland and Nokia on Creating Sustainable Businesses for the Knowledge Economy
This €12.9 million program, running from 2010-2012, focuses on enhancing the competitiveness of emerging market SMEs in the information and communication technologies (ICT) and agribusiness sectors in particular. The program will also employ the use of the mobile communications platform to grow content, services and applications for developing countries.
The Global Forum focused on the Mobile ApplicationsAgri-business and Clean TechnologiesThe Global Forum attracted hundreds of attendees, business incubator managers, policy-makers, SMEs, financiers and development agencies from all continents for a unique South-South and North-South networking and knowledge-sharing experience.
May 31. The World Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development department and infoDev teamed up to launch two sourcebooks on agriculture innovation and ICT in agriculture at infoDev’s 4th Global Forum on Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship .

The program is creating two sourcebooks: one on ICT for Agriculture and another on Agricultural Innovation Systems, in collaboration with a wide range of authors and agencies.

Both products are intended to offer agriculture and other development practitioners a set of tested solutions, good practices, and methodologies, along with promising applications, that enable them to leverage ICT and harness innovation for more effective agricultural and rural development outcomes. 
The sourcebooks bring together thematic notes and over 200 case studies from all over the world into a single easy-to-use compilation for those working in the agricultural sector.

The ICT for Agriculture e-Sourcebook is being designed as an electronic publication to maximize its outreach, with the intent of maintaining it as a “living” updatable document through the web. The website domain:, which is currently under construction, will include the full sourcebook text, as well as updates on projects, new tools and applications, user interface, and research focused on the impact of ICT. This e-strategy will improve global access to the sourcebook and foster a community of practice both inside and outside the World Bank. The website and sourcebook have an expected release date in autumn 2011. For more information on the ICT for Agriculture e-Sourcebook: Brief (PDF)

The SME Fair highlighted the products of the top 50 SME’s out of over 700 which had entered the competition for space at Helsinki. Entrants came from all over the developing world with Africa being represented by M-Farm, livestock vaccines, and Avnon Consulting, which is a South African start-up which has developed soft ware for tracking the activities and performance of incubators and incubates.

Related: the African Incubator Network.  The growing Africa Incubator Network includes groups that have recently planned and opened incubators with infoDev support, existing organizations that have added or expanded incubation facilities, and a regional network support organization that is facilitating the further expansion and strengthening of the Network.

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