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Senegal Launches National Digital Currency

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Senegal launches digital currency

African digital currency innovation is on the rise as Senegal plans to join Tunisia as the world’s second country to have a digital national currency. The eCFA, the name for the new currency. 

The eCFA is a brainchild of a partnership between eCurrency Mint and the Banque Régionale de Marchés (BRM). The duo, in a public statement, defined the eCFA as “a high-security digital instrument that can be held in all mobile money and e-money wallets.”

The statement also stated that the new currency would be more secure than other conventional bills or coins. “It will secure universal liquidity, enable interoperability, and provide transparency to the entire digital ecosystem in WAEMU (West African Economic and Monetary Union),” read the statement.

The developers of the Senegalese digital currency say that it is protected through sophisticated cryptographic protocols to beat any form of imitation or counterfeiting. Pro-eCFA pundits also confirm the safety of the currency, adding that it is more transparent and easier to regulate through the central bank.

But the eCFA is not a “normal” cryptocurrency and it is entirely different from bitcoin as the new Senegalese e-currency has a Central Bank for regulation. 

Why Senegal Is a Fertile Ground for Digital Currency

Senegal embraced the idea for several reasons. For instance, the country is well positioned as far as the West Africa financial system is concerned. Their CFA franc is common in 14 nations on the continent, most of which are former colonies of France. Its value has a guarantee from the French government.

The Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) is the official regulator for the CFA franc, and it has already set the rules of using e-currency in its member states. This makes the region more receptive to the idea of digital currency than any other place on the continent.

Proponents argue that it may take a shorter period to for Africa to bridge the gap between its economy and that of developed nations by bypassing some stages of technology. This way, the continent is likely to embrace the latest forms of technology without having to go back to the earlier methods, and this makes the ground even for them. That is why the Tunisian and Senegalese governments are ready to dare the implementation of a national digital currency.

Also, many people in the region are unbanked, which means they might be more flexible to use digital currency than official bank account holders in the world. Although the success of the idea is not a guarantee, the fact that many people rely on mobile money more than on bank accounts makes it more acceptable.

Universal Cryptocurrency for Africa?   

In the second phase of actualisation, the BCEAO, which regulates the distribution of the eCFA, aims at reaching out to Benin, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Togo and Burkina Faso. Speaking to Business Wire, BRM’s CEO Aliune Camara said:

“We are committed to bringing digital financial services and true financial inclusion to West Africa. We can now facilitate full interoperability between all e-money payment systems. This is a great leap forward for Africa.”

Editor’s Note: The original version of this story stated that the eCFA was issued on a blockchain. However, that was not the case.   

Blockchain Technology

What to Expect at the Blockchain Africa Conference 2019

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Blockchain Africa Conference 2019

The Blockchain Africa Conference is scheduled to take place in Johannesburg between February 28 to March 1, 2019, and in Cape Town on March 6, 2019.

What to Expect at the Conference?

Currently, in its fifth edition, the Blockchain Africa Conference is an annual event that is organised by Bitcoin Events. The three-day event will see more than 800 plus delegates listen to more than 50 speakers from around the world.

Given that the African continent has a lot of challenges with doing business, the conference seeks to explore how blockchain technology can be used by different industries as well as organisations to streamline systems and processes to improve Africa.

As Bitcoin Events has organised two different conferences in two of the most popular cities in South Africa, attendees should expect a myriad of offerings. The three-day Johannesburg conference will focus more on “blockchain enterprise development, blockchain use-cases, self-sovereign identity, enterprise blockchain in finance, the future of banking, as well as challenges facing blockchain technology such as interoperability and scalability.”

Blockchain Africa Conference

The one-day Cape Town conference will focus on how the blockchain and digital currencies can be utilised to attain the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for economic growth and social inclusion by facilitating and enhancing access to a broad range of financial services that are crucial in the achievement of Africa’s economic growth as well as long-term poverty reduction.

The speakers lined up for the Cape Town conference will focus on how blockchain technology can be utilised for new social projects in different areas like decentralised services for identity, patient records, remittances, healthcare support, renewable energy, provision and distribution of aid and support, and community currencies, among other areas.

Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Impact Training Course

artificial intelligenceAttendees of the Blockchain Africa Conference in both cities will also be able to take part in a two-day training session on blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI). For this, Bitcoin Events has partnered with Intelligent Impact and Blockchain Academy to offer the practical course that is meant for enterprises, development organisations, non-profits, corporates, governments and investment firms. Participants who attend the course will also be introduced to a wide range of emerging technologies.

List of Speakers

Bitcoin Events has selected a panel of speakers who are well-known globally for their contribution to the bitcoin and blockchain technology space. For both the Johannesburg and Cape Town conference, speakers lined up for the conference are people who have had their careers in the crypto space since it was started.

The list of Johannesburg speakers include:

  • Farzham Ehsani, CEO and Co-Founder of VALR.com – Master of Ceremonies
  • Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger Project – Keynote Speaker
  • Charlene Chen, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at BitPesa
  • Mandla Magagula, Blockchain Consultant at Rand Merchant Bank
  • Tanya Knowles, Chair of the South African Financial Blockchain Consortium
  • Ntuthuko Bhengu, Health Expert on the SA National Planning Commission and a Chartered Director (SA)

The list of Cape Town speakers include:

  • Didi Sehume, Project Lead and Strategist at Hume Est/ MC & Moderator – Master of Ceremonies
  • Marcus Swanepoel, Co-Founder and CEO of Luno
  • Monica Singer, Creator of Opportunities at ConsenSys
  • Kwame Rugunda, Chairman of the Blockchain Association of Uganda
  • Simon Dingle, CEO of Inves Capital, South Africa Radio Presenter
  • Lorien Gamaroff, Founder/CEO of Bankymoon and Co-Founder/CEO of CentBee

Get Your Ticket

From 2014, the Blockchain Africa Conference has been known to bring together thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders to discuss the future of the blockchain and crypto in the African continent.

Tickets are already on sale. You can purchase your Johannesburg ticket here or for Cape Town here.

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Blockchain Technology

Africa Blockchain Alliance Joins Hands with ConsenSys Academy to Offer Blockchain Developer Program in Africa

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ConsenSys Academy

The Africa Blockchain Alliance (ABA), headquartered in South Africa, has joined hands with ConsenSys Academy to offer a blockchain developer program in Africa. The aim of the program is to produce highly-skilled Ethereum developers in response to the high demand for blockchain experts worldwide.

The Blockchain Developer Program

ConsenSys Academy focuses on promoting Ethereum education globally while the Africa Blockchain Alliance focuses on policy advocacy and facilitating awareness in blockchain technology. The blockchain developer program, which will be offered online, will begin on March 1, 2019, and will run for three months.

The program will include fresh and improved content created from the feedback of former ConsenSys graduates. It will cover smart contract development, DApp development, best security practices, and Ethereum concepts.

Participants will undertake the course for about ten to fifteen hours per week inclusive of four to five quizzes and a project. Once graduates have successfully completed the program and the project, they will receive certificates on the Ethereum blockchain.

ConsenSys AcademyThe Africa Blockchain Alliance in conjunction with its network of partners will provide support through meetups, community events, mentors, and in-person sessions in hand-picked African cities.

The founder of the Africa Blockchain Alliance Ben Onuoha stated:

“I am particularly excited about this initiative as this is our contribution to helping bridge the global blockchain knowledge gap in order to help meet the demand for blockchain developers as well as creating more diversity in the blockchain world. This program also has the potential to create employment for the graduates. Finally, blockchain expertise in Africa owned by Africans to deliver blockchain solutions is lacking and we are excited to be leading the charge in this regard.”

Registration

The blockchain developer program is open to both individuals and organisations from anywhere in Africa. Registration for the program can be done on the Africa Blockchain Alliance’s website.

Learners are required to have a stable Internet connection and a computer running the latest versions of Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows.

The Benefits of the Blockchain Developer Program

The graduates of this program will benefit in various ways such as gaining the opportunity to work for global companies, getting mentorship from developers in the Ethereum ecosystem, and becoming certified blockchain developers.

The program will also enable organisations to create blockchain developer expertise in-house, work on ideated use cases, and access certified and experienced blockchain developers.

The blockchain developer program comes at a time when African countries are reacting positively to blockchain technology with the plan to use it in various sectors. Therefore, this program could provide the talent pool African countries need to implement the blockchain.

If you want to learn more about blockchain development, you can check out our guide on ‘How to Become a Blockchain Developer‘ and our review of the best blockchain online courses.

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Blockchain Technology

Ugandan Coffee Exporter is Putting Coffee on the Blockchain

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Uganda Coffee Blockhain

Ugandan coffee exporter Carico Café Connoisseur is now using the blockchain to verify shipments of its coffee. This move comes from a rise in demand by consumers wanting to know the origins of their products.

Finding Your Roots

According to a report by Business Day, coffee company Carico Café Connoisseur has started to track its shipments using blockchain technology. Mwambu Wanendeya, the CEO of Carico Café Connoisseur, stated that ‘Bugisu Blue,’ which arrived in South Africa last December, was a blockchain-certified shipment.

With blockchain certification, coffee lovers are able to follow the steps the coffee goes through using their smartphones. They can do this by scanning the QR codes or via a certification platform called Provenance.

Uganda Coffee BlockchainWanendeya says: “The idea is to give the consumer an appreciation of what happens on the journey and also to ensure that there are more linkages with the farmer. Traceability is important because people are increasingly concerned that […] farmers get rewarded for their work.”

From when farmers drop off their coffee at the collection centres to warehousing, to inspection by regulators and shipping, everything is recorded. This means that coffee drinkers can receive information such as the type of coffee bean they are drinking, their harvest year and which country it originates from.

Carico Café is already working with two farmer cooperatives with hundreds of members. This revolutionary move, Wanendeya thinks, could boost the farmers’ income by ten percent.

As he put it,

“Consumers are willing to pay more if they know where exactly the coffee is coming from.”

Currently, Uganda eagerly wants to increase their exports from current levels, which is good news for coffee farmers. Uganda is Africa’s largest exporter of coffee according to the International Coffee Organisation.

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