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Can Mobile Phone Based Agricultural Marketing really deliver greater efficiency, fairness and market access?

Begins:   May 15, 2008 12:30
Ends:   May 15, 2008 13:30

Rural Infrastructure, Markets and Finance (RIMFI), e-Development Thematic Group and USAID's ICT team

present a joint BBL


May 15, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
at U Building, 1800 G Street, NW, 3rd floor Room 445/455
Light Lunch will be provided (first 30 attendees)


Main speaker is Mark Davies of TradeNet, an private entrepreneur in agricultural information services in Africa. TradeNet is one of Africa's leading market information services designed for mobiles. Currently available in 15 countries and rapidly expanding into Asia and South America, TradeNet is the second generation of mobile content services, combining a powerful SMS-technology platform with an innovative business model. Designed originally as a commercial software tool for NGOs seeking to broadcast spot prices on SMS, TradeNet has evolved to include all types of market information like offers to buy and sell, weather, forex, transport, news etc., i.e, a comprehensive overview of market activities.  TradeNet is available for any large or small group to establish their own private or public MIS group and submit and broadcast content via SMS. It reduces communication costs dramatically for groups seeking to increase and target their extension services. It reduces the cost of content acquisition as it makes every market participant a potential enumerator, posting offers by their mobile to other users. And soon, TradeNet will be extended to provide extensive field activity tracking tools, tracking crops from planting through harvest to transport...

Is TradeNet enabling agricultural networks to have access to a broader set of economic opportunities? Other topics Mark Davies will cover include:

  • The benefits of better market access
  • Why MIS have previously failed
  • How the mobile phone changes everything
  • Overview of TradeNet
  • Demo of the functionality & features
  • Introduction to the business model and deployment model
  • Challenges & M&E
  • Progress to date: overview of 15 countries
  • Future opportunities for rural computing & platforms like TradeNet


Grahame Dixie (RIMFI, World Bank)
Judith Payne (USAID)
Samia Melhem (e-Development, World Bank)

Main Speaker Bio

Mark Davies is a serial entrepreneur who has started five private companies on three continents. After dotcom successes in California (Metrobeat/CitySearch) and in Europe (FirstTuesday) he turned his attention and investments to Africa where he pioneered a new model for SME incubation, BusyInternet. Based in Ghana since 2001, Davies has built a team that is now exploring how mobile phones can improve revenues for low-income farmers.  Their latest product, TradeNet, is a rural computing platform that allows users to submit and subscribe to targeted SMS feeds. Active in 15 countries and expanding onto three continents, TradeNet was recently featured on CNN and is the industry-leader in market access for the rural poor. Educated in Social Anthropology at Cambridge, and a published author of five children’s books, Davies is passionate about how technology and business intersect to improve lives in Developing Countries.

Grahame Dixie & Ms. Korotoumou Ouattara
Co- Chairs - RIMFI Thematic Group
Senior  Agribusiness  Specialist,  South Asia & Senior Financial Economist,  Africa Region

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