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Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements

Information technology connects Ethiopian farmers to world markets

Using the latest information technology, the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange transmits prices of coffee, sesame, maize and wheat in real time to Ethiopian farmers  through outdoor electronic ticker boards in 32 rural areas.

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Established in 2008, the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) aims to “ensure the development of an efficient modern trading system”. It is the only commodity exchange in Africa to have streamlined payment transfers down to “next day payment” after a trade. Thanks to advances in IT technology, its market data reach is extensive.

The prices of coffee, sesame, maize and wheat are transmitted in real time to outdoor electronic ticker boards in 32 rural sites as well as to the ECX website, 256,000 mobile subscribers via instant messaging, and radio, TV and print media.

Market data are available through a toll-free phone-in service. The service received more than 1 million calls in September 2011, 70 per cent coming from rural callers. It was estimated in July 2011 that the ECX had 243 members while its clients — who trade through members — totalled about 7,800. Farmer cooperatives representing 2.4 million smallholder farmers make up 12 per cent of the membership.
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