Technology Solutions for Rural Ghana
Category : Technology
The role of technology in removing or optimizing value chain rigidities is an accepted orthodoxy in global commerce and trade. In Ghana, tech applications in economic sub sectors arguably have contributed to high rate of growth sectors such as Services , consequently transforming its contribution to Ghana’s GDP (2011:49.1%, 2012:48.4% and 2013:49.5%), compared to other sectors (22% and 28.6% in 2013 for agriculture and industry respectively. The trend persist in 2014 and per projections, 2015 as well. Albeit ICT itself as a sub component in the Services construct remains the lowest, its critical enablement of other sub-sectors like financial services and insurance provides substantial impetus for growth of these sectors. This is the context for Rural Heights Foundation’s proposition that many value chain gaps, especially in rural Ghana, still remain for tech-driven social enterprise.
Case in Point: Esoko
Esoko, an inspiring social enterprise providing tech-based supply chain optimization services to farmers in Ghana and indeed all of Africa is case in point. The company uses mobile technology to provide market information to farmers thereby enabling better negotiations for farm output. As an enterprise, commercial viability was achieved quite early in their growth process due to the excellent utility of service provided. The proposition has since then moved to address scale challenges. With the right partnerships, entrepreneurial drive and finance, the Essoko brand is poised to consolidate its reputation as a high-impact social enterprise.
More Growth Opportunities
The challenges in rural Ghana; agriculture, education, transport and communication, present remarkable growth opportunities for tech innovators. The critical success factors in deploying any tech application to solve value chain gaps are; adequate understanding and definition of the problem on one hand, and the design of appropriate technological response. Tech-savvy entrepreneurs must forge close partnerships with other actors in the social space to formulate a comprehensive database of supply chain gaps in high-growth poles such as agriculture. For instance, C. R. Doss & Morris (2000) find that farmers in female-headed households have a lower chance of adopting improved maize varieties as compared to households where both women and men are present in a male-headed households in Ghana. A clear understanding of the motivations driving this behavior could spawn a whole social enterprise to provide tech-based propositions that improve gender-based adoption rates of agriculture technology. Tech indeed is the future of Africa.
It is with this broad understanding, which Rural Heights Foundation, through its Gomoa Teaching Project (GTP) is reaching out to teachers in selected villages within the Central Region of Ghana, to free deliver training-of-trainers sessions, using simple video-sharing technology with the goal to improve pedagogical approaches. Areas of focus for this project are how to embed critical-thinking and problem-solving into teaching approaches. With our rural teachers adequately empowered, they will be better equipped with techniques that encourage inclusive learning. The ultimate goal of the project is to help retain young talent in the rural areas to support agriculture and the general rural economy.
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