Updated: Feb 17, 2020
Blockchain is a digital technology used for secure data storage and transfer of items like money, property, contracts, etc. without requiring a third-party intermediary like bank or government. Once a data is recorded inside a blockchain, it is very difficult to change it. Bitcoin is the most popular example of blockchain.
Considering how connectivity is still a major problem in many African cities, it's hard to believe that a new technology like blockchain is becoming popular across the continent (see Figure 1). But that is the reality today. In the last 5 years, several blockchain brands have sprung up to initiate Africans to the new disruptive technology --the likes of Remitano, Localbitcoin, and Luno.
While the technology poses some threats especially as it is not currently regulated by many African governments, it stands to offer several opportunities for industrialization and good governance in Africa.
What Blockchain could Offer Africa:
1. Efficient Supply Chain
Presently, the supply chain in many African countries is highly fragmented. These days, from manufacturer to final consumer one can have 5 intermediaries, so much that when it gets to the user/consumer the final cost may very likely have doubled. The bad side about this vicious cycle is the fact that only the latter bears the brunt. But blockchain eliminates the need for middlemen, leaving a peer-to-peer, i.e, direct line of communication between the manufacturer and consumer.
2. Efficient Street Lighting and CCTV Surveillance
Blockchain and artificial intelligence can also be integrated into street fluorescents and CCTVs. What difference would it make? For one, it can help to curb criminalities by monitoring suspicious activities and recording potential criminal events that cannot be altered.
3. Good Governance
Corruption is a major problem in Africa, no doubt. And this has been for a very long time, so much that eradicating it seems impossible. But, blockchain can impose transparency and reduce government’s direct involvement with monies, thereby making political offices less attractive for incompetent and corrupt individuals.
Article Credit: Michael Adesanya