At CTED, we often find ourselves faced with the question of how to use mobile phones and other technologies to improve economic development. With mobile phones reaching an estimated 80% penetration in Ghana by 2010, earlier this year we decided to look at new and powerful ways that mobile phone technology is being used on the ground there. This summer, CTED partnered with Esoko, which is a leading mobile market information exchange in Accra, to research the effectiveness of Esoko’s SMS-based market information system (Read more about the partnership here). Esoko’s system provides farmers with updated market prices via SMS for crops that farmers can use when they sell their goods at market or to traders, which hopefully enables them to bargain more effectively and to maximize their profits. CTED’s research in partnership Esoko will evaluate the impact of this service on farm-gate prices, livelihoods, and farmer marketing behavior. CTED’s research focus and experiences partnered with Esoko’s location and history in Ghana, which provides a wealth of local market experience that will aid in the analysis, aims to yield findings that can be applied in other rural communities in Africa and beyond.
If you want to read more about the work that Esoko is doing, check out National Geographic’s Mobile Message here: