All too soon the ICT4Ag13 conference held in Kigali came to an end. I won’t forget in a hurry the field trip which saw me go to the tallest building in Kigali: the Kigali tower. I at first thought I was going to a field trip out of town probably to the northern part of Rwanda but to my surprise, in just about 3 minutes after leaving the Kigali Serena hotel, I was in front of the Kigali tower! Remembering many years ago (during my university days), I sat always at the school cyber café looking painstakingly staring at the computer. Looking at the spikes and studying the charts before I place either a buy or sell trade. That excitement led me to choose the field trip at the EAX Rwanda, situated on the 12th floor of the tallest building in Kigali (the Kigali tower)
The excitement begins…
On arriving the East Africa Exchange (EAX) Rwanda premises we were treated like superstars with paparazzi everywhere, there were photographers from the New York Times, Radio France and several other international media. About 20 delegates from 11 different countries who are key industry players in the ICT for Agriculture field both in the public and private sectors where welcomed by the East Africa Exchange team. Participants from Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Hong Kong, Belgium, and India were thrilled to the organizational structure and functions of the East Africa Exchange (EAX) Rwandan team and were introduced to all staff members, we were also trained on how to place commodity trade using the world class NASDAQ X-stream.
The action began…
After a 30 minute training session on the EAX trading floor, we the participants were able to trade 10 tons of maize with relative ease. Casting my mind back to my experience in trading Foreign Exchange (FOREX) back in my university days, it was no different. All participants participated in a simulated live commodity trade using the world-class NASDAQ X-stream OMX trading platform. Based on the knowledge gained from the training we were able to monitor and place bids for the commodity we wanted to buy, remembering that the highest bidder wins we made sure we bid higher when another participant bid higher than us, interestingly the system is such that you can actually know when someone bids higher than you and can send a message to the EAX team in case of errors during the bid.
EAX Rwanda, a subsidiary of Africa Exchange Holdings (AFEX) which was established to link smallholder farmers in the east African region to agricultural and financial markets. Access to goods markets is the main concern of every farmer and this service will enable them sell their products at a fair and competitive price. Farmers will also be facilitated to access financing opportunities. EAX Rwanda seeks to transform the way small farmers and traders do business within the East African region and beyond, by injecting ICT solutions into Agribusiness. The trading exercise proved to me the capability of this trading technology, as any authorized user can log onto the system from anywhere in the world and I think this should be replicated across ACP countries.
Photo Credit: East African Exchange