Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa have been listed among countries taking the lead in blockchain experimentation. The four nations have been recognized as pioneers in Africa in terms of financial inclusion and technology adoption.
“Africa is rising and technology is at the forefront of our growth as a continent,” said John Kamara, Director for Global Gaming Africa, an industry leader in the continent’s betting arena.
He was speaking with Katy Micallef, an Author for the ‘Malta Blockchain Summit’, an event slated for November 2018 in Malta, Europe that aims to showcase developments within the industry.
“We have seen the explosion of the mobile space in the continent and how it has allowed a number of services and solutions to become easier. Blockchain is about to help solve a number of issues we are currently facing in the public and private sector. Pockets of blockchain innovation are fast springing up in innovation hubs across Africa, as the public and private sector alike seek effective new systems of record with trust embedded,” he added.
Speaking in regard to the Malta Blockchain Summit, he explained that with Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa among the countries taking the lead in blockchain experimentation, the financial sector looks set to be the continent’s earliest big adopter.
He noted, however, that development and trials are also underway to apply blockchain technology to virtually every industry sector, from health and social development to retail and agriculture. Governments are exploring ways of using blockchain to aid corruption across multiple verticals and also to push value to service sectors.
One company planning to maximize blockchain’s potential in Africa is Ecobank, a pan-African banking conglomerate with operations in 36 African countries. Ecobank’s Fintech Challenge actively seeks out fintech innovations harnessing Blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other next-generation technologies.
According to Kamara, other countries like Kenya and Nigeria have either setup a blockchain committee or advisory programs to explore the opportunity. Some of the happenings in the private sector around blockchain education are key to usage of the technology, such as IBM research on blockchain and movement of trade in Africa. ITEX, a payment solution company, servicing multiple POS solutions and software for banks across Africa is exploring blockchain for security and trust.
“From my perspective Africa is looking at blockchain as a solution to solve some of the multiple problems we have, as we pioneer digital payment technologies in Africa as well,” Kamara said.
Speaking to Kamara during a recent exchange, Micallef noted that Nairobi and South Africa have implemented crypto-friendly laws and Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta has launched a blockchain and artificial intelligence task force.
Responding to this, Kamara stated that more countries will follow suit and create other types of structures that will work for their economy based on their market need.
He said that some momentum has been gathered around the use of blockchain in Africa so far and throughout 2018.
Micallef and Kamara agreed that just as Africa skipped the early fixed-line telecommunication phases of the 20th century and moved straight on to mobile phone usage, new blockchain tech could provide the continent with a similar opportunity to bypass inefficient systems and leap into the future.
Kamara noted that examples of such leaps in technology adoption are already evident. Blockchain start-up TariLabs, for instance, has launched in Johannesburg, South Africa, with the aim of building the open source Tari blockchain protocol. The protocol is being constructed as a platform for the management, trade and use of digital assets.
Jamborow, the Pan African business to business (B2B) platform for financial inclusion in Africa is also building a blockchain solution to help secure data, transactional information and identity management for her clients in Africa.
“These developments prove that the private sector and governments are taking blockchain seriously in the continent. The proof is in the drive of our private companies to explore and deploy funds into blockchain research as well as projects,” Kamara concluded.