2.4.2 Blend web and mobile technology to promote interactive market access for young entrepreneurs.

Technology can create new spaces for youth participation in markets. A mix of mobile and web technology can harness the best of both mobile and web-based functions, allowing organizations to innovate business communications and facilitate transactions between producers, marketers, traders, and exporters who are disadvantaged by their location and/or the level of economic development. Since 2005, the International Trade Centre has been perfecting the use of mobile technology in countries as diverse as Benin, Fiji, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mali, and Senegal. They have examined the potential of mobiles to share market information and promote e-commerce or (m-commerce) through a Mobile Marketplace.

Bright Ideas: Trade at Hand and Mobile Technology Links Youth to E-Commerce and Market Information

The International Trade Centre, along with partners, created an innovative solution to fill information gaps in Liberia. In Liberia, over 75 percent of the population owns mobile phones. Their use is ubiquitous, even in rural areas. The Trade at Hand Program ([email protected]) uses mobile technology through the Mobile Marketplace, developed in both Benin and Liberia. The Mobile Marketplace provides a real-time market information system for farmers, buyers, sellers, traders, and market women in Liberia, regardless of their location and function in the value chain, and offers Liberian buyers and sellers a mobile link to the market that is cheaper than a traditional phone call. It has shown potential for youth enterprises and young entrepreneurs and can be accessed via a web-based platform or an interactive voice response (IVR) platform—both feeding into the same database.

To encourage use among young people, the program has identified and trained youth [email protected] Ambassadors, created partnerships with youth-serving organizations, and linked to potential [email protected] youth entrepreneurs. For more information, see www.tahliberia.com.