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October 8, 2019 10:00am
U.S. Eastern Time


October 8, 2019 11:00am
U.S. Eastern Time

Provided by:

ICT4D Webinar Series

Transforming Agriculture Through Digital Financial Innovations

Digital innovation in rural financial services has the potential to be a game changer for achieving sustainable agriculture and global growth.

View the webinar recording below

Resources shared in this webinar

Digital innovation in rural financial services has the potential to be a game changer for achieving sustainable agriculture and global growth. Smallholder farmers and small enterprises in developing countries often lack the required investment capital and access to financial services, as well as the digital and financial literacy necessary for success.

Drawing from first-hand experience, the diverse speaker panel at this webinar part of an ongoing series around ICT4D explores how to design the digital financial innovation with the User in mind, why going beyond technologies is crucial, and how to combine new innovations with actionable information.

Discussion topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Overview: Digital trends and innovations for financial inclusion of smallholder farmers and the rural poor (new actors, new tech: machine learning, satellite data, etc.)
  • Digital/ Economic identity to assess creditworthiness of farmers
  • The challenge of scale affecting many innovative tools and technologies. How can public and private organizations address this and reach those currently excluded?
  • E-Learning and capacity building for farmers: Different types of digital technologies for building farm skills, financial and technical literacy
  • How to improve cross sector partnerships and data sharing for more success in ICT4ag?


Robert Kintu

FIT Insights Group

Matthew Strickland

Senior Market Engagement Manager, Mobile for Development

Valeria Pesce

Open Data Specialist, e-Agri business
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO)

Shaun Ferris

Technical Director of Agriculture and Livelihoods
Catholic Relief Services


Sonja Ruetzel

ICT4D Partnerships and Conference Manager
Catholic Relief Services

About the Speakers

Robert Kintu, CEO, FIT Insights Group
Robert has over 22 years of experience in business development research and business management. Since 1998, he has been involved in the formulation and design of ground-breaking business initiatives aimed at building linkages with people in the lower end of the pyramid. As an Idea Motivator, he is known for is conceptual designs in sustainable development and the use of ICT innovation support for agribusiness, trade, payments, and markets. Robert is a key architect in the design of the INFOTRADE platform and known names matter for market information services and systems in Africa. He recently launched the virtual cashless payment platform, “Maalipot,” that is supported by a pre-debit card called Infotrade Maalicard. (

Matthew Strickland, Senior Market Engagement Manager, Mobile for Development, GSMA
Matthew is a Senior Market Engagement Manager for the AgriTech program based in London, providing consultancy support to mobile network operators across Africa and Asia.  Matthew supports operators with the implementation of mAgri product initiatives through field research, product innovation, and commercialization support. Previously, Matthew lived in Malawi and Tanzania working with smallholder tea farmers as an organizational development consultant to improve access to information for farming best practices. In his early career, Matthew worked as a Business Development Manager with a number of digital consultancies. Matthew holds an MBA and Bachelor of Science degree.

Valeria Pesce, Open Data Specialist, e-Agri business, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO)
Valeria has worked for more than 15 years in the areas of knowledge management, content management, data infrastructures, data sharing, data standardization and more recently data policies, especially concerning agri-food data. In the last eight years, she has coordinated work packages and activities in international projects aimed at improving data management, data standardization, data use, and awareness of data rights across the agri-food value chain. She is an ECQA certified EU Project Manager, and coordinated several web development projects, primarily data sharing portals, search engines, and Linked Data implementations.

In the last year and a half, Valeria has worked on planning and convening workshops and webinars on the issue of farmers' data rights and facilitating the creation of a global collective action on empowering farmers through more equitable data flows.

Shaun Ferris, Technical Director of Agriculture and Livelihoods, Catholic Relief Services
Shaun’s work focuses on agro-enterprise development and value chain support for smallholder farmers, specifically on building the agro-enterprise capacity of field staff and finding ways of generating value at the farm level. He has more than 21 years of experience in development agriculture. He has a B.Sc. in Horticultural Science from Reading University, an M.Sc. in Tropical Agronomy from Nottingham University, and a Ph.D. in Post-Harvest Science from Cranfield University, UK.


Sonja Ruetzel, ICT4D Partnerships & Conference Manager, Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Sonja is leading the ICT4D Conference on behalf of CRS and co-facilitating this monthly webinar series. Before joining the Global Knowledge and Information Management team at CRS, she was the Event & Program Director of the Aid & International Development Forum (AIDF).

Sonja has over 15 years’ experience researching and managing global conferences, training courses, webinars, as well as reports and whitepapers in a wide range of industries, including finance, legal, health, technology, public and non-for-profit sectors. Prior to following her passion for professional development events, Sonja worked as researcher and editor at consultancy, Control Risks. She holds a master's degree in Public Policy and Management from University of Constance, Germany.

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