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Why Africa Needs To Embrace The Blockchain

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For the last two years, the rate of economic crime has shot up by 7 percent in the African continent to about 57 percent (vs. a global rate of 36 percent). The rationale behind this is the simplicity to bleach the economic measures in African countries.

The Problem with Trading in Africa

It is expensive to transport goods from a country to another and this makes the cost of trading a little too high. In fact, crossing borders and ports in Africa is so expensive that it ends up minimising the benefits that the continent can get from international trade.

According to the Business Daily Africa, the cost of transporting goods to African countries exceeds that of the United States by up to five times. In most cases, the poor transportation networks and slow government procedures make exporters and importers spend at least 50 percent longer to reach the market compared to Eastern Asia.

Blockchain, the Inevitable Revolution

With blockchain, Africa (and the world) can get on track. The network has immense benefits for trade and government activities. Although few anticipated that blockchain could redefine the way commerce is carried out in the world, but it is doing much more. After starting out on cryptocurrencies, the technology is now influencing how industries and governments are carrying out their activities.

The blockchain influence is also being felt in the public sector. For instance, 90 percent of governmental institutions are already planning to use the blockchain to revolutionise their services. For example, public organisations are keen to utilise the blockchain’s accessibility and convenience to impact in the management of assets, identification, supply, contracts, and regulations.

The Benefits of the Blockchain for African Countries

In the major industrial ecosystems, the blockchain can be essential in handling sophisticated missions and processes across borders. In the same way, governments can use the technology to improve their citizen services.

While many governments in the world are trying to achieve globalisation, it is important that they foster trust. Trust means increasing transparency in the country’s economic sectors. Efficient management of funds, citizen participation, and accountability are all key pillars towards the realisation of trust in a country.

Blockchain can be helpful to help Africa achieve economic trust and to reduce corruption. The technology is efficient enough to enable governments to record transactions transparently so as to prevent fraud. Of course, politicians will also have to be willing to move towards more transparency, which could be a bigger challenge than actually implementing the technology.

If a state embraces blockchain technology, it can have customised digital identity for its citizens, which would be encrypted but available for them to access essential social services. This could be critical in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.

Again, the technology is key to improving the way local and national governments deliver services to their citizens. For instance, the network could be critical in helping electoral commissions in ensuring voters exercise their right only once during an election. Also, the system can be crucial in storing medical records, which can have substantial benefits to the health crisis in Africa.

African governments that want to make their tendering and procurement processes more efficient should also embrace blockchain technology. This could help rid the authorities of the losses that come from errors and fraud. Countries such as Senegal and Tunisia are already launching national cryptocurrencies on the blockchain. This could revolutionise and simplify financial transactions throughout the continent.

In summary, there are hundreds of benefits in store for African governments that embrace the blockchain. Apparently, even other countries in the world are starting to launch the technology. According to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV), there is an increasing number of government bodies embracing blockchains in a bid to increase accuracy and innovation.

Blockchain Technology

Interpol and VoguePay to Launch Blockchain-based Crime Control Platform in Nigeria

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Online payments provider VoguePay and the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) are set to launch a blockchain-based crime control platform in Nigeria.

Crime Control on the Blockchain

The crime control platform, which will be called interPort, will obtain information and manage stakeholder involvement and crime reporting.

“The partnership with VoguePay will help the agency to increase the safety of Nigerians, and to protect the economy while enabling citizens and businesses to comfortably embrace available technologies to grow their businesses, increase their profits, and create more jobs,” Interpol Commissioner of Police in Nigeria, Olushola K. Subair, stated.

Thanks to its experience in payments security and blockchain implementation, VoguePay will enable Interpol to increase citizen engagement and cooperation with partner networks to curb crime in Nigeria.

“Blockchain technology is the next evolution in identity management and that by leveraging it, Interpol is now better positioned to offer cross-agency data and biometric management,” Michael Simeon, CEO VoguePay, said.

Crime in Nigeria

Criminal activities in Nigeria range from kidnappings and robberies to contract killings and terrorism.

The Nigeria 2017 Crime & Safety Report by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) states: “Crime is a risk throughout the country with significant terrorism threats, especially in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram is suspected of or has claimed responsibility for most of the terrorist activity in Nigeria.”

For instance, the Lagos State and Federal Capital Territory recorded a total of 58,566 crimes in 2016. With such high crime levels, the partnership between Interpol and VoguePay could be a step in the right direction to make Nigerians feel more assured that perpetrators will be caught and charged for their crimes.

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Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority Issued Warning Against Initial Coin Offerings

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Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority has issued a public warning against initial coin offerings (ICOs) in an attempt to warn Kenyans about the risks involved in investing in newly issued digital tokens.

“It is notified for general information that the CMA has not as of this date, approved any initial coin offering. The ongoing offerings are unregulated and speculative investments with considerable risk to the investor […] ,” the notice reads.

The risks cited by the CMA include a heightened potential for fraud, cross-border distribution risks, information asymmetry, and liquidity risks.

Currently, two Kenya-based cryptocurrency projects that are conducting ICOs include Nurucoin and UwezuCoin. Both, however, have been criticized by members of the local cryptocurrency community and it is unlikely that these projects will raise a notable amount of funds during their token sales.

It is also important to note that the current regulatory environment in Kenya is – for the most part – anti-cryptocurrencies but very much pro-blockchain. This is also reflected in the CMA’s statement, which says:

“CMA is cognisant of the importance of FinTech and the benefits that can be derived from leveraging blockchain technology and is willing to work with interested parties through the already established Sand Box model for purposes of supporting innovative FinTech products in a controlled and safe environment.”

The most prominent African token sale to date has been the SureRemit ICO, which managed raised over $7 million for the non-cash remittance platform. In 2018, several African blockchain startups are expected to launch token sales to fund their operations. Whether the Kenyan financial regulator’s warning will deter Kenyans from investing in these ICOs remains to be seen.

For investors, it is extremely important to conduct thorough research into a blockchain project before investing any funds as the barriers to entry for launching a token sale are extremely low and there are many scammers out there looking to prey on newcomers to the crypto asset investment space.

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CoinFest Nigeria Comes to Abuja on April 5, 2018

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The “decentralised convention for decentralised currency” CoinFest will take place in early April in multiple cities across the globe. One of these cities will once again be Abuja, Nigeria. CoinFest Nigeria will be held in Abuja on April 5, 2018.

The event aims to connect cryptocurrency enthusiasts, programmers, entrepreneurs, merchants, investors, entrepreneurs, traders and the general public to discuss ways on how to incentivise cryptocurrency acceptance, educate the public on the benefits of digital currencies and the blockchain.

Promoting Cryptocurrency Technologies Through Collaborative Initiatives

CoinFest Nigeria began in 2017 with support from Cryptographic Development Initiatives of Nigeria (CDIN), Humaniq, BitPesa, CryptoMart and other crypto-friendly organisations. The event attracted participants from many West African countries, particularly Liberia.

CoinFestThe event comes at a time when Nigeria boasts a vibrant bitcoin community evident from a number of successful cryptocurrency conferences and meetups held last year. The country is also becoming a fertile breeding ground for blockchain innovation with a number of successful startups and organisations taking advantage of the high number of bitcoin freelancers, traders, and miners.

The event, which is hosted in seven countries across the globe, is expecting a bigger turnout this year than the year before. The activities planned for the day include panel discussions, in-depth analysis and speeches, informative sessions, networking opportunities, and cryptocurrency and blockchain product exhibitions.

“Nigeria, being a major destination has increasingly come to realise the potentials and opportunities of Crypto and Blockchain Technology in several ways, relevant to individuals, and businesses. However, there is need to intensify more collaborative efforts in engaging interested groups, and relevant agencies on the right path of its adoption to emerging economies like Nigeria,” states CoinFest Curator, Kayode Babarinde.

Attendance is free with the event being held at Civic Hall, Civic Innovation Lab, 50 Adetokunbo Ademola Cresent, Beside H-Medix Pharmacy, Wuse II, Abuja, Nigeria, from 9 am. Speakers will be announced soon on the CoinFest website.

For registration, inquiries, sponsorships, exhibitions or speaking opportunities you can check the CoinFest Nigeria website.

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