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Blockchain use cases in Africa

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In Africa, the word ‘Blockchain’ was once strange, but now, it is slowly gaining grounds and it’s becoming the engine that will be used in the nearest future to power great innovations that will be embarked on in the continent. Blockchain movement in Africa has followed the usual cryptocurrency trade and different sectors of the economy all over the continent is beginning to envision its relevance and application.

In recent times, Africa has been taking giant steps in leading happenings in the world, so it is not a surprise that the interest of Africa is now on blockchain technology

Even though blockchain has a decentralized payment, it seems to have caught the attention of the 54 African countries. Although the younger generation seems to be the ones driving the blockchain technology movement.

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It has been reported that the government of Kenya has set up a blockchain taskforce that will investigate and look at areas where blockchain could be applied to the government services.

Dr Bitange Ndemo, who is tagged ‘the father of broadband’ in Kenya was chosen to head the taskforce and he is already anticipating and envisioning several sectors of the economy where the blockchain technology could be applied.

Some of them include using blockchain for education, certificate verification, for the nation’s financial transaction and also for management of traffic.

The government of Uganda is already getting ready to apply Blockchain technology in some of its services. Vicente Bagure Waswa, who happen to be the permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT in the country made a statement that the Uganda government is well aware of the shift in trend by the world in the implementation of blockchain in various services.

Mr Patrick Mweheire, who is the chairman of Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) and also the managing director of Stanbic Bank said that Uganda banks will adopt the blockchain technology where there is a need to, so as to help lower the operational cost and also reduce the risk.

One major area where blockchain technology will be of great advantage in Africa is the election and voting system. Although the government of Sierra Leone publicly denied that Agora, a Swiss-based blockchain company, had a part to play in its election, it will sure be a welcome development in the country and the continent at large if blockchain technology was introduced in African elections.

For private sectors and also startup communities, the blockchain technology has also not been left out. There has already been the application of the blockchain technology to tackle some of the problems being faced in Africa.

What caught the eye of the African companies is the secure, decentralized and growing digital ledger that facilitates the transactions made by cryptocurrency. Yet some of the governments of some nations are still skeptical about allowing its citizens invest in cryptocurrencies.

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An example is Nigeria. Its regulators have cautioned its citizens, and also discouraged them from investing in cryptocurrencies with the reason that virtual currencies aren’t legal but yet crypto activities is still going on in the country.

Startup companies in Africa are integrating the blockchain technology into their system, mostly in the area of secure and transparent transactions, and also solving the continent’s recurrent problems.

And it is already being envisioned in Ghana that the blockchain technology will be introduced in the area of land fraud. Bitland has started digitalizing land by providing land registry services which is going to be built based on bitshare blockchain thereby helping in confirmation of land ownership and transactions.

There have been the emergence of over 15 bitcoin exchanges in the African market and each of these exchanges came with a focus, and that is to provide cheap and efficient trading services to consumers in Africa.

And countries battling with inflation like South Sudan could also benefit from it. Meanwhile, East African investors have already introduced BitPesa, a crytocurrency system to help support cross-border transactions.

And in countries where the government still discourages cryptocurrencies like Nigeria and South Africa, it is fast gaining popularity and there are activists who believe that this new currency can help in stabilizing the economy of the country because the conventional system has not been able to raise the hopes of the people.

In summary, the future of blockchain in Africa looks very bright but it will have to maneuver its way in mapping out the uncharted territories and it’s expected that hurdles like the regulatory and political systems of this territories, the technical disabilities and also lack of awareness could prove to be a hard nut to crack for the blockchain technology.

But if these hurdles could be overcome, blockchain could be the technology that will help to equip smart contracts, bring solutions to security data and digital currencies and many more in the continent.

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Paschal Okafor is NaijaTechGuide Team Lead. The article Blockchain use cases in Africa was written by Paschal Okafor. The article was last modified: November 5th, 2019

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