The role of South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the promotion of Information and Communication Technologies for Rural Development



Objectives and Thematic Focus

There is ample empirical evidence showing that the use of information and communications technology (ICT) for development can produce better results in agriculture and rural development. For instance, a paper published in the Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics states that “ICTs play a significant role in a country’s development and the strategic application of ICTs to the agricultural sector…offers the best opportunity for economic growth and poverty alleviation” [1].

Significant progress has been made in the last 20 years in ICTs, which are being increasingly utilized as tools for promoting sustainable economic and social development in developing countries. The role of ICTs for development (ICT4D) has also been clearly recognized by the international community in adopting Agenda 2030 and the accompanying Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. It has been acknowledged that the rapid development of ICTs offers the possibility to accelerate and deepen the needed transformation of the world economy and societies [2].

ICTs also play also a critical role in fostering food and nutritional security, and promoting rural and agricultural development more broadly. Several projects around the world – including IFAD-supported projects – have demonstrated the role of ICTs in, for example, enhancing production and productivity, lowering operating costs, facilitating access to markets, information, credit and capacity-building. In fact, over the last decades we’ve seen the socio-economic benefits of, for example, mobile telephony on the lives of many poor rural people. We’ve seen how, thanks to mobile phones, those who previously were both socially and economically excluded are now actively participating in the economy. By accessing timely and reliable information, farmers can go from being dependent on the information provided by middlemen to being independent negotiators and deal-makers. Evidence from projects also shows that poor rural people are willing to spend part of their income on such services [3].

IFAD recognizes the centrality of ICTs for promoting sustainable and inclusive rural transformation in developing countries, and has included them in its Strategic Framework 2016- 2025 by underlining, inter alia, that expanding the uptake of new ICTs will be a priority. IFAD will leverage the surge in cellular phone ownership to facilitate access to better market information and financial services, and to products such as credit, savings and insurance, as well as to weather information to ensure better capacity to predict rainfall and better preparedness to adapt to climate change. Furthermore, ICT4D has been highlighted as an area of priority by several Member States during the ongoing IFAD11 Replenishment Consultation, and it is also a central theme of the G20 agriculture track in 2017 under the German presidency.

South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) is also increasingly recognized as a mutually reinforcing component of IFAD’s business model for contributing to better rural livelihoods in developing countries. In fact, SSTC is embedded as a priority area in IFAD’s Strategic Framework 2016-2025 and in the IFAD10 replenishment commitments. At the first meeting of the IFAD11 replenishment consultation in February 2017, SSTC was again underlined as a key area of importance for the IFAD11 period (2019-2021).

Moreover, IFAD is planning to launch, at the end of 2017, its first Rural Development Solution portal, which collects innovations, solutions, technologies and policies that have solved a challenge in a developing country and that could be applied in other contexts.

Against this backdrop, IFAD is proposing an interactive session that will focus on how South-South and Triangular Cooperation can be sued as a means to further the application of ICTs and innovative technologies in developing countries, to solve rural agricultural development challenges.


Concrete Outcome

Presentation of the recently launched Rural Solutions Portal, with an open invitation for partners to contribute to the Portal and to engage with IFAD in the development of SSTC activities in the ICT for rural development context.


Draft Agenda

Welcome & Opening remarks

  • Ashwani K. Muthoo, Director, Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy Division, IFAD

Video: The Software Solution (Cambodia)

Panel Session and Q&A: The role of SSTC in the promotion of ICTs for Rural Development in the context of the 2030 Agenda


  • Elena Bertusi, SSTC Expert, Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy Division, IFAD


  • Joao Bosco Monte, President, Brazil Africa Institute
  • Ama Brandford-Arthur, Senior Technical Specialist, Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy Division, IFAD
  • Yahya Gülseven, Senior Expert at External Affairs and Partnership Department, Turkish Cooperation Agency, TIKA
  • Rafael Ranieri, Advisor for Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Japan and Saudi Arabia at the Executive Board, African Development Bank and former staff of the Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management, Brazil
  • Dina Saleh, Country Programme Manager for Georgia and Turkey, Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, IFAD

Final Remarks

  • Ashwani K. Muthoo, Director, Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy Division, IFAD





Ms. Elena Bertusi

SSTC Expert, Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy Division, IFAD

Elena Bertusi, an Italian national, has been working at IFAD since June 2016, focusing on South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy Division. Her day-to-day work includes supporting the design of SSTC activities and approaches in IFAD-funded programs, projects and country strategies and ensuring the development of the Rural Solutions Portal, which includes solutions and innovations drawn from the IFAD portfolio.

Before joining IFAD, Elena has worked several years at the World Bank Group in Washington DC, where she focused on citizen engagement, open aid and innovation and acquired extensive hands-on experience in international development issues and project and event management.

Elena holds a degree in International Law from Bocconi University and a LLM in International Criminal Law from UNICRI. She was admitted to practice law by the Court of Appeal of Bologna in April 2015. She is fluent in Italian, English and Portuguese.


Mr. Joao Bosco Monte

President, Brazil Africa Institute

Professor João Bosco Monte is the founder and current President of Brazil Africa Institute. He holds a PhD in Education from the Federal University of Ceará and Postdoctoral studies from the University of Brasilia (UNB), with the object of research on the integration of the African continent. He is a visiting professor of important Brazilian and African Universities and he is a Senior International Associate of African, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center – CALACs of Jindal Global University (India). He is author of books and publications related to the relations between the various international actors, focusing on the South-South Cooperation. He acts as an international consultant of Brazilian and foreign organizations and is a columnist and commentator of important media in Brazil. He was a Brazilian delegate on the Academic Forum of the BRICS (2013). He is the General Coordinator of Brazil Africa Forum and the President of the Board of Trustees of the Youth Technical Training Program.


Ms. Ama Brandford-Arthur

Senior Technical Specialist, Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy Division, IFAD

Ama Brandford-Arthur, a national of Ghana, has been working with IFAD for the past 14 years. She currently holds the position of Senior Technical Specialist in the Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy Division. Among her current assignments, she is working on reviewing IFAD’s work on information and communication technologies (ICTs), and how ICTs can be more comprehensively leveraged for rural transformation and improved livelihoods. Ms Brandford-Arthur also works on knowledge management, a key component of IFAD’s south-south and triangular cooperation strategy and activities.

Ms. Brandford-Arthur is fluent in English and French, and has a basic understanding in Italian and Spanish. She was educated in Ghana and the United Kingdom.


Mr. Yahya Gülseven

Senior Expert at External Affairs and Partnership Department, Turkish Cooperation Agency, TIKA

Mr. Gülseven works as a senior expert for The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), which is the official international cooperation agency of Turkey. He has 12 years of experience in design and implementation of development cooperation projects in various countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Balkans. He studied Political Science and International Relations at Bogaziçi (Bosphorus) University in Istanbul, and graduated from Middle East Technical University (METU) with a Master of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration. Currently, he is a PhD candidate in the Department of International Relations at METU. His research interests include South-South Coperation and the new foreign aid architecture.


Mr. Ashwani K. Muthoo

Director, Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy Division, IFAD

Ashwani K. Muthoo, a national of India, has extensive experience in international cooperation, agriculture development, management and development evaluation. He currently holds the position of Director of the Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy division in the Strategy and Knowledge Department at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Prior to his current position, he was Deputy Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD, and evaluated development policies, strategies and operations in all geographic regions. In particular, one of his most significant evaluations was on agriculture in Africa jointly with the African Development Bank. He has also undertaken many assessments and studies of development interventions in Brazil and numerous African countries including Kenya, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and several others.

Mr. Muthoo is fluent in English, Hindi, Italian and Portuguese, and understands French and Spanish. He was educated in Brazil, India, Italy and the United Kingdom.


Mr. Rafael Ranieri

Advisor for the African Development Bank and former staff of the Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management, Brazil

Rafael Ranieri currently advises Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Japan and Saudi Arabia on all issues related to their governance role as shareholders of the African Development Bank. Before his current position, for over 5 years Mr. Ranieri worked on Brazil’s relations with several multilateral development banks and funds.

In the last few years he was in charge of coordinating the country’s position on policies, strategies, projects and other aspects as well as on negotiations for additional resources to support the institutions’ development mandates. He was also responsible for managing the payment of Brazil’s contributions to international organizations. Mr. Ranieri has taught International Relations and Economics in Brazil and in the United States and has authored and co-authored papers on inclusive development and international political economy.

Mr. Ranieri holds a PhD in International Relations, a MSc in Economics and a MA in International Relations and Comparative Politics.


Ms. Dina Saleh

Country Programme Manager for Georgia and Turkey, Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, IFAD

Ms. Saleh is a Development Practictioner with over 20 years  international experience in development projects and programs in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia. She is currently the IFAD Country Programme Manager for Turkey and Georgia, responsible for managing and overseeing the operations in these countries.  She also served as the Regional Portfolio Adviser for the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division and previously, as the Supervision Support Officer. Prior to joining IFAD in 2007, Ms. Saleh worked at the United Nations Office for Project Services in Nairobi, Tunisia and Rome. She holds an MSc from the University of London in Development Finance. In addition to her native language Arabic, she is fluent in English, Kiswahili and Italian.




Focal Point Contact Details

Overall Coordinators:

  • Ms. Elena Bertusi, SSTC Consultant
  • Ms. Monica de Vito, Assistant to the Director and Administrative Assistant

Communications Focal Point:

  • Mr. David Paqui, Regional Communications Officer


  • Ms. Elena Bertusi:
  • Ms. Monica de Vito:
  • Mr. David Paqui:


  • Ms. Elena Bertusi: +39 06 5459 2468
  • Ms. Monica de Vito: +39 06 5459 2769
  • Mr. David Paqui: +39 06 5459 2213




[1] Chavula, H. K., The role of ICTs in agricultural production in Africa, Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics, Vol. 6(7): 279-289; 2014.

[2] ICTs & SDGs: How Information and Communications Technology can Accelerate Action on the Sustainable Development Goals; The Earth Institute and Ericsson; 2016.

[3] See: Lightfoot, C. et al., The First Mile Project in Tanzania, Mountain Research and Development, 28(1):13-17;

International Mountain Society; 2008.