Food and Water

Commodity Exchanges: Rural farmers have difficulty accessing markets and their produce sometimes goes to waste. A commodity exchange has the potential to drastically improve the lives of rural farmers. CTED is conducting a research study to evaluate the impact of Commodity Exchanges throughout Africa, and specifically focusing on the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, to assess its institutional design and technology systems, and to measure the performance of the market. CTED is also developing mobile phone applications to increase the accessibility of Commodity Exchanges to rural farmers.

Market Information Systems: Rural farmers do not always know the market prices of their produce. This lack of information makes them more likely to be misled by traders and may prevent them from growing appropriate crops if they do not know the prices of goods in different markets. CTED is studying the technology and economics of market information systems, and is working with Esoko, a company that uses mobile phone technology to send price alerts to the farmers so that they are better able to negotiate with traders and build better lives for themselves.

CTED Mobile Apps Lab: Farmers in rural Africa often lack important geographical and agricultural information about their land. Sometimes they do not even know the boundaries of their own property. CTED built a GIS agricultural mapping system that allows farmers to precisely map the boundaries of their land and food transportation routes.


Epothecary: Counterfeit and expired pharmaceuticals are a significant problem in the developing world. They may even result in sickness and death. CTED created a system that uses mobile phones to track and verify the origin and identity of pharmaceutical products.

Financial Access

Remittance Study: Remittances are playing increasingly large roles in developing economies, contributing to economic growth and to the livelihoods of less prosperous people. In collaboration with the UAE Exchange, which accounts for $17 billion of annual transfers and 5% of the world’s remittances, CTED is conducting a study of the flow of remittances in the UAE and their economic impact.


Solar Energy Project: Rural areas in off-grid regions lack sustainable electrification solutions. CTED is collecting data on solar energy through solar test beds in Abu Dhabi and is developing mobile phone technology to make photovoltaic energy a sustainable and cost-effective choice for rural off-grid electrification. CTED is working with SIM cards to reduce the cost of solar panel diagnostics and repairs, to more efficiently bring electricity to rural regions.


Bringing the Web to People without Internet Access: Internet access in the developing world is often expensive and unreliable. CTED has created a system that puts portions of the internet on portable hard drives for school children to be able to access web pages on any topic in the form of an offline – searchable information portal.