University for Women Key to African Agriculture

“ARU was incubated by the Uganda Rural Development and Training Program (URDT), a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1987. It is the first African university dedicated to training women.  It is one of the first African universities to be incubated by a rural NGO and show great promise in the potential for growth among local organizations. ARU is one the first universities to focus on rural development and entrepreneurship considering that Africa is largely rural.”


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Technological Leapfrogging in Agriculture

“To harness the globally available technologies, African leaders will need to take into account the multisectoral dimension of African agriculture and pay particular attention to the urgency of investing in rural infrastructure, higher agricultural training and creation of regional markets.”


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Matching development challenges with tech solutions in the fight against extreme poverty

The goals of multilateral development agencies, United Nations and World Bank Group are laser-focused on the post-2015 development agenda, calling for transformative change by eradicating extreme poverty and raising economic prosperity for all.  This vision for a new era in development is rightly bold and ambitious, but cannot be delivered without fully embracing the transformative power of technology and innovation, including information and communications technology or ICT.

Most would agree that technology solutions exist for most every seemingly intractable problem.  Yet often our greatest challenge is to match the problem with the solution.  In my various “technology for development” and trade promotion roles with the United Nations and World Bank, it is so clearly evident that government leaders know what problems they need to solve, but are simply unaware of the technology solutions available to them. Even the most highly informed development experts are not aware of the technologies being produced for their particular area of expertise, and technology firms are often unaware of the vast and specific challenges developing countries face.

Thus, it is critical to first identify specific, not general challenges in areas such as access to capital, business creation, countrywide connectivity, education and training, employment, environmental protection, government administration, health, housing, hunger, infrastructure, pollution, population growth, trade expansion, waste, water scarcity, and women’s empowerment.  These are but a fraction of problems facing the developing world.

Photo: flickr, courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (http://ow.ly/zjGTn)

 

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Using Open Data to drive innovation, collaboration and change in India

Open Data has the potential to be a game-changing tool in poverty reduction and economic growth. The World Bank has been actively encouraging governments to become more transparent, more accountable to their citizens, less susceptible to corruption and better at delivering services.We often consult various partners – including governments, organizations and other implementers – on Open Data and its critical role in economic development and growth. The World Bank’s team of information and communication technology (ICT) and open data experts help explore the potential for forecasting national and global trends, while also unlocking opportunities for innovation and improved performance. These consultations serve as a crucial starting point in planning, implementation and correction of many government, private sector and civil society initiatives.

Since 2012, the Bank has organized a series of trainings on open data tools and online resources for users in government, economic research institutes, media, civil society, academia and the private sector. More than 3,000 stakeholders have been trained already in 10+ major cities of India. There is need to take this agenda forward especially in the low-income states where exposure to the Bank’s resources is lower.

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Africa: View On Private Sector – Uncounted Innovation

[SciDev.Net]Innovation in developing country firms is thriving, but this is being overlooked because the methods used to study private sector ingenuity are inappropriate, SciDev.Net reported last month. The story was based on a pilot study carried out in Ghana by Xiaolan Fu of the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
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Financial Inclusion Up Close in Rwanda

You don’t have to spend very long in Rwanda before you start to be impressed by the financial inclusion landscape in this country – not only by the progress made over the past several years, but by the scale of ambition for the rest of this decade and beyond.

The government has set a target of 90 percent financial inclusion by 2020 and the evidence of progress toward this goal is everywhere: Advertisements for mobile-money products are painted and plastered onto almost every available surface and, if you know what to look for, it doesn’t take long to spot an Umurenge Savings and Credit Cooperative (Umurenge SACCO) – Rwanda’s signature financial inclusion initiative.

Six years ago, the 2008 FinScope survey found that that 47 percent of Rwandan adults used some type of financial product or service, but just 21 percent were participating in the formal financial sector, which was at the time made up mostly of banks but which also included a handful of microfinance institutions and SACCOs.

Largely in response to these figures – and in particular to the large urban/rural divide illustrated by the data – and the government set out to establish a SACCO in each of the country’s 416 umurenges, or sectors. The Umurenge SACCO was born.

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You Can Change the World of Hardware and Enter to Win a Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Practitioners in the developing world for years have known of the challenges that power, heat, humidity, unstable electrical systems, and even inexperienced users have brought to ICT projects. Why do these issues occur, and what could be engineered more efficiently to overcome these challenges?

Photo Credit: GooglePhoto Credit: Google

Inveneo has teamed with Dr. Laura Hosman, from the Illinois Institute of Technology, to design a survey to help answer these questions.

We need your help to uncover the solutions. USAID is a keen partner in this survey, and your answers will help interested ICT4Ders and manufacturers understand how ICT hardware could be designed more appropriately for developing countries and regions.

Please participate by taking our survey – it will take less than 10 minutes. Your answers are confidential.

Respondents who complete the survey will be entered in a drawing to win a Google Nexus 7 Tablet. One random winner will be selected and notified by email on March 6th, 2014.  Also, everyone who is interested will receive a link to download the upcoming Hardware Challenges White Paper.

Thank you for participating! Please click here to begin the survey.


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