Question Box Article in International Trade Forum

International Trade Forum asked Question Box Founder Rose Shuman to write an article detailing how our service and philosophy relates to Aid for Trade.

Question Box: Crossing the digital divide

Rose Shuman, Founder, Open Mind - Question Box
April 01, 2011

By removing the obstacles to technology, language and literacy, Question Box – an initiative of US-based not-for-profit Open Mind – is breaking down the barriers to eradicating poverty by providing easy access to information in hard-to-reach areas in India and Uganda.

A central tenet of Aid for Trade is bringing marginal producers into the global economy. However, how can that connection be made, to share the full benefit of free and open trade, when the producers suffer severe information asymmetry? Frequently, middlemen exploit the information advantage, cutting out a significant portion of the profit. Lack of timely information also affects income when producers are unaware of broader trends at planting season. An incorrect decision can result in crops that are worth little because of global overproduction or that are destroyed by unexpected agricultural epidemics.