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Odetta Mukanyiko makes a phone call from her maize field in Musaza village, Kirehe District, Rwanda on March 24, 2011. Purchase for Progress, a Gates Foundation initiative, works through the World Food Program to connect small farmers from Musaza and other areas around Rwanda with a market for their beans and maize.

Digital Thinking in Agriculture series is launched

A special edition anthology, published in partnership with US Foreign Affairs, brings together the views of twenty leading thinkers on all aspects of food systems, smallholder farming, and the transformative opportunity presented by digital technology.


Right now, African leaders are making decisions that will determine the structure of the continent’s food system for a generation or more. Among these decisions are a host of investments in digital technology and policies about how it will be used to empower smallholder farmers and advance rural development. If these investments and policies are sufficiently ambitious, they can help create a food system that fights poverty and promotes economic growth, increases food security, encourages gender equality, and improves health and nutrition for hundreds of millions of Africans. The authors of the essays in this collection paint a picture of what a thriving African food system can accomplish and lay out some concrete steps for building that system.


Co-curators Kofi Annan, Sir Gordon Conway, and Sam Dryden assert that “The combination of digital technology and human creativity in deploying it will revolutionize life for Africa’s farmers by overcoming isolation, speeding up change, and taking success to scale.”


Sam equates the transformative potential of the digital revolution to the electrification of rural Kentucky in his childhood. He illuminates the role that unique IDs, invisible to most of us, play in making each of us visible to others, and he challenges future leaders to put these in place for every single African farmer.


DON’T MISS the rare personal stories shared by the authors at the end of each essay.


View and download the Foreign Affairs anthology here:


You might also like this video in which Bill Gates shares how the future of agriculture will shape up. 



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