Vol. 51 Nr. 2/2017: Digitisation – Game changer for Rural Africa?

Digital technologies hold a huge potential for poverty reduction and inclusive development in rural areas, as numerous success stories show: recommendations on crop growing and veterinary extension services for farmers, vocational training for rural youth, health and nutrition consultancy for pregnant women and young mothers, mobile banking systems for those without a bank account, the set up of early warning systems …. However, much of the potential of the new technologies still lies in the future, and inherent complexities are often underestimated. We have asked our authors to keep an eye on the practical relevance of the examples they are presenting from their work – no isolated solutions but technologies and initiatives that bear a potential for up-scaling, are (or can be) locally adapted and can above all also benefit small-scale farmers and the young generation, who are more strongly represented in Africa than in any other continent. We also asked them to demonstrate why some solutions that seem promising at first glance are doomed to fail and which areas have a lot to catch up on if the rural digitisation potentials are to be unleashed in a manner that really deserves the attribute ‘inclusive’.

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