Rwanda: Microsoft Chief Urges Youth, SMEs to Tap Into Online Resources to Drive Productivity
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Increasing youth employment and enhancing small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) development through Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) to boost the continent’s productivity and alleviate poverty were some of the key issues at the just-concluded African Development Bank meetings.
Business Times’ Ben Gasore caught up with Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative general manager Fernando de Sousa on the sidelines of the meeting. He explained how technology could play a big role in addressing Africa’s productivity and poverty challenges, as well as how Rwandan youth and SMEs can tap into the opportunities ICT presents:
How can ICT be used to boost productivity and alleviate poverty, especially in rural areas?
Addressing the productivity question first of all means focusing on developing the relevant skills. It is also about knowing how to use digital devices and the Internet; it is about exposing young people to a world that is much bigger, with vast opportunities.
In the agriculture sector for example, technology drives high productivity because farmers today know where they can fetch the best prices through the use of their mobile phones. Instead of vending their produce by the road side, farmers today have ready markets and buyers.
Also, when entrepreneurs embrace the Internet as a business tool, they are able to find and woo new clients or track their shipping to ensure their goods arrive on time. That’s part of promoting productivity, and Rwanda has made huge progress in this area considering it’s a landlocked country.