Exploring the Intersection of AI and Agriculture: Insights from a Trade Mission in West Africa

Alex Masika

Courtesy of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, my colleague, Ifeanyi Akosionu and I had the incredible opportunity to attend a trade mission organized by the Governments of Ivory Coast and Togo, facilitated by the UK FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development office) and DMA (a UK based investment promotion and events firm), from February 7th to 10th. The few selected companies were a mix of investors, technology partners and organizations in the agriculture and infrastructure sectors seeking investment /business opportunities in the two countries.

As a leading provider of cutting edge AI technologies, Atlas AI was selected to join the trade mission. Our goal was to demonstrate how AI can be used to promote food security, increase production and accelerate economic development. We are currently advancing research to inform public policy and investment at the intersection of the agriculture, energy and transportation sectors in East Africa through the Rockefeller Interconnected Pathways to Development project and hope to extrapolate this research on a global stage.

The trade mission was an excellent opportunity to have 1:1 meetings with government decision makers and private sector firms relevant to the agriculture and food sectors. One major highlight was a closed door stakeholder deliberation with the Prime Minister of Ivory Coast Hon. Patrick Ache.

Delegates photo session with Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Ache at his office

We also had the chance to visit the African Development Bank at their HQ, where we discussed their investment pipeline and potential financing mechanisms and programs.

Both Ivory Coast and Togo are emerging trade and investment destinations in the agriculture and food sector and present investment opportunities through private- public partnerships (PPP)  especially in the development of special zones for agriculture. We were able to showcase how our cutting edge technology can spur economic growth and development in agriculture and other sectors by expanding access to insights about the socioeconomic conditions of those two countries in line with our vision of helping companies and governments anticipate and monitor changes to the economy and societal well being to promote a more inclusive future.

With food security becoming a major issue in Africa, there are ample opportunities to invest in and do business with domestic public and private sector firms focused on increasing agriculture production and distribution for both domestic and regional markets. Catalyzing pathways to development requires simultaneously addressing agriculture, energy, transport and their interfaces and the trade mission for us was an excellent way to learn about the opportunities available in West Africa and to demonstrate how our technology can be used in planning, predicting and monitoring inclusive growth.

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