Mrs. Jenny Rafanomezana, CEO of TruTrade is speaking at a conference on Thursday 19th May 2016 hosted by MercyCorp, AgriFin Mobile Program on a session called 'When Digital Services Need a Human Touch' in Kenya.
'It is important that people recognize that technology is not just a tool. The potential that technology has to transform a business or make a difference in people's lives depends on how it is used. For TruTrade there are issues we have had to figure out in designing our mobile app and in promoting franchisee access to smartphones, however by far the biggest challenge is in building the capacity of our agents and network managers to be able to use this tool to maximum effect.'
The conference brings together people with ideas and experience from around the world to share and explore ways of using information and communications technology (ICT), to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will discuss partnerships and business models for implementing scalable and sustainable ICT solutions that address development challenges and how these can provide financial services, rural advisory support and market linkages to smallholder farmers.
'Hardware and software issues can be addressed but without ongoing investment in the human element - the capacity of users to make the most of the technology will be limited. Our business grew from peer exchange and mentored learning and our future success will depend on prioritizing this so that we get user-driven technology that is relevant to the needs, in our case, of rural trading businesses' She notes.
TruTrade Africa receives support from AgriFin to integrate its Information Technology (IT) platform and applications and promote uptake of payment for crop by mobile money.
TruTrade uses International Business Machines (IBM) cloud-based mobile and online applications to provide the controls and information for price setting, tracking of produce from collection to delivery, and tracking of payments from buyer to farmer. Its digital financial services address the ‘sale to settlement gap’, which is one of the key factors that limit the growth of rural African agricultural markets.
It also has an online TSS platform for deal management and a fully-integrated mobile application for franchisees to analyze potential deals, register and report on them. A dashboard currently under development will provide real-time deal and business analytics.