I built a mobile app to help Africa’s farmers but our countries’ infrastructure must work too

Sitting under the bright lights of a restaurant in Nairobi’s up-scale Lavington area, I recently considered my next steps as a social entrepreneur in Kenya. My expertise is in the use of ICT4D (Information and Communication Technology for Development) for agriculture; put simply, it is about using technology to improve how we grow, sell, distribute and consume food. Recently, I was a keynote speaker at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) held in Lusaka, Zambia, where I spoke about the endless possibilities of ICT4D if well applied and combined with broader solutions to improve smallholder farmers’ access to markets, and how data is the new currency. But perhaps I was wrong.

I googled the term and the top results, among roughly 407,000, with titles like “Top ICT4D conferences” and “increasing impact through innovations” popped up on my screen. ICT4D is the centerpiece of hundreds of conferences and events. Development agents often talk about ICT4D as if it’s the Messiah that every African smallholder farmer has been waiting for.
I wish it were true.