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By Godfrey Olukya 4-3-2013

One of the biggest Mobile phones companies in Africa, Airtel Africa has signed memorandum of understanding with UN WOMEN on initiatives to promote the empowerment of women and girls

A statement issued by Bharti Airtel said that according to the agreement, Airtel will establish a Farmer’s Information System which will provide real time information to women farmers through it’s network in Africa.

Among those to benefit are women farmers in the East and Horn of Africa region, where countries including
Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda Rwanda Sudan and South Sudan are located.

UN Women is the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

As per the understanding, UN Women will identify the farmers to be covered under this initiative, whilst Airtel will package and deliver the appropriate mobile solutions to support their livelihoods and enhance their efficiency.

Commenting on the partnership, Andre Beyers, the Chief Marketing Officer of Airtel Africa said, ‘The empowerment of women is essential to economic development, especially in rural and agricultural economies. We are pleased to partner with UN Women and contribute to their agenda of gender equality and empowerment of women by leveraging the possibilities mobile telephony has to offer.’

Under the agreement, Airtel Africa will establish a Farmer’s Information System, which will enable women farmers to access real time information related to weather, changes to the policy environment (such as taxation and regulation), available support services; as well as other areas. In addition, Airtel will also offer Internet protocol messaging services and closed user groups.

Christine Musisi, UN Women’s Regional Programme Director for the East & Horn of Africa, said ‘This exciting new partnership will use the power of mobile telecommunications to engage and empower women in rural and urban areas. Working with Airtel, UN Women can reach entrepreneurs faster, through communications platforms as they already
own mobile phones.’

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