Africa's poverty reduction has been driven by growth and not by improvement in equity. A recent World Bank Ghana poverty report highlighted geographical diversity in poverty. For example in Ghana, the national drop in numbers of people living in poverty masks significant regional disparities between the northern Savanna regions (58%) and the rest of the country (23%). The highest poverty headcount in 2016/17 is found in the rural savannah zone at 67.7%. Access to and proper use of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides are key to increasing productivity. However, input usage among smallholders remain stubbornly low. In fact, at an average of 17.5 kg/ha, fertilizer usage in Ghana is among the lowest in the world. Among the reasons for low input usage are the high costs of inputs and lack of access to capital to procure inputs. Only 40% of Ghanaian adults over 15 years old have bank accounts and those with formal savings schemes are estimated to be only 19%. This phenomenon is common in many African countries. A mere 8% of rural households had access to credit for financing agriculture and crop and life insurance programs that could make these poor farmers more resilience in the face of these climate, economic and social stressors and threats are virtually non-existent. Moreover, with farmer to extension officer ratio at more than 3000:1 in many countries, many farmers don’t have access to traditional extension, further deepening lack of information and widening the information asymmetry that exists within agricultural value chains.
Esoko realized that in the midst of these challenges, many African countries have one of the highest rates of mobile phone penetration in the world. In Ghana for instance, there are more mobile phones than there are people. This presents a great opportunity for the unbanked & underserved population to access information and other tangible digital products Esoko started in 2008 as a social impact business to see how the emergence of mobile technology in Africa, could improve the lives of rural communities across the continent. The company leverages its technical platform and field force for the collection & dissemination of information, mostly using tablet devices and feature phones. Esoko provides smallholders with access to inputs and finance through our virtual marketplace, while driving business for input dealers and financial service providers. We offer a range of applications – whether that’s delivering critical market information, crop advisories and weather forecasts, or monitoring field activities. Esoko has evolved over the years but remains committed to improving income for rural communities by empowering them – and the businesses that serve them – through mobile technology
|Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted||4,752,447|
|New Implemented Countries||Burkina Faso, Malawi, Nigeria, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, Tanzania, Sudan|
|Recruit||Snr technical Product Manager|
|New Feature||Developing an integrated community management platform|
Esoko is co-owned by Mark Davies, James Foster, Acumen Fund, AHL Venture Partners and Daniel Asare-Kyei. The company is managed by Dr. Daniel Asare-Kyei (CEO), Castro Antwi-Danso (Director, Sales and Marketing), Godwin Cudjoe (Chief Technology Officer), Benjamin Hinampong Asare (Vice president, strategy and development), William Osei Agyemang (Chief Finance Officer) and Kwabena AmoatengFrimpong (Director of operations).