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Africa to Adopt Blockchain for New Digital Free Trade Area

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Blockchain for New Digital Free Trade Area

Africa is set to adopt blockchain technology for Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa’s (COMESA’s) new digital free trade area (FTA). The digital free trade area is the first in Africa and is modelled from the Malaysian Free Trade Zone.

Blockchain Application in FTA

The blockchain will connect transacting parties and allow them to share ledgers in real time securely. Its application will also enable the production of an electronic certificate of origin that will be verifiable using national information technology systems.

“Gone are the days when we have had documents being presented physically at the border posts because with the digital economy you can do that from the country of export irrespective of where it is. The long queues that we see at the borders are needless,” Sindiso Ngwenya, Secretary General of COMESA, said.

Ngwenya also said businesses pay a lot of money to banks because of lack of trust, but with the use of the blockchain, this situation will change.

The digital FTA’s pilot program will kick-start with 15 out of the 19 COMESA members. As a result, SMEs and large enterprises from these African countries can trade through their smartphones and tablets.

One of the greatest benefits that COMESA will obtain from incorporating blockchain technology in the digital program is cutting down on costs. For instance, the African bloc will reserve up to $450 million in clearance documentation.

Digital FTA is a component of COMESA’s theme “Towards Digital Economic Integration”, which is inclusive of trade promotion applications that have already been developed. These applications are Regional Customs Guarantee Scheme, COMESA Virtual Trade Facilitation System, and an online platform for trade promotion and regional customs bonds.

“We are rolling out the Digital FTA in 2018, beginning with willing member states on the basis of the principle of variable geometry. The e-certificate of origin is a good practice around the world, but COMESA will be the first regional economic bloc in Africa to have it as a regional FTA instrument,” Ngwenya stated.

The African countries involved in the digital program are DRC, Zambia, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Rwanda, Kenya, Mauritius, Swaziland, Sudan, Uganda, Egypt, and Burundi.

The adoption of the blockchain is growing in global trade because it offers trust, faster and cheaper transactions, and enhanced security. Companies such as Maersk and UPS are already integrating blockchain technology into their activities for these reasons.

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Blockchain Technology

eCampus Integrates Blockchain Technology in Its Latest Update

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eCampus

The eCampus app has integrated blockchain technology in order to allow students across Ghana to ascertain how prepared they are before taking an examination.

This latest update is designed to honour the memory of the past United Nation Secretary Kofi Annan and his positive involvement in the educational sector.

What is eCampus

The eCampus app is an education-focused mobile app, making use of blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to help students learn and prepare for upcoming exams. This is done using a rewarding, fun and responsive interface.

The lasted updates to the 3.0 version of the app include:

  • Blockchain Integration
  • Test Prep
  • Course Suggestions
  • Lab

Blockchain Integration

blockchainAccording to a blog post by eCampus, the blockchain Integration on the app makes it possible for app user to gain points from the general usage and interaction on the app. These points are expected to be exchangeable for service or products offered on the app.

Furthermore, certification can be generated using the points received on the app. The certificate is usually in form of a digital badge. This badge, in turn, can be used to secure employment outside the app.

Test Prep

The app makes it possible for a student to prepare for various national exams by letting them know how well prepared they are to take on such an exam. This is made possible using the test prep feature on the app. All that is required by the student is to select the type of test that intend to take and the app provides them with a test matching the examination.

Course Suggestion

For a student struggling with the choice of courses to undertake. The latest version of eCampus also possesses AI features, making it possible for it to suggest courses which are relevant to the students based on the profile of such student.

Labs (Beta)

This feature incorporates the use of virtual reality technology to help students explore numerous laboratory tests connected to their field of study.

eCampus version 3.0 is available on Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and Windows App Store.

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Blockchain Technology

Block Commodities and Pure Grow Africa to Launch First Crypto Project for Ugandan Farmers

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crypto project for Ugandan farmers

Block Commodities, a commodity trader operating in Africa, has announced a partnership with Uganda-based Pure Grow Africa to launch the first crypto project for Ugandan farmers. 

The Pilot Ecosystem

Block Commodities Limited, a London NEX exchange-listed company whose objective is maximising value through the blockchain ecosystem, has announced a partnership with Pure Grow Africa Limited (Pure Grow), a leading supplier of high-quality agricultural products based in Uganda. Block Commodities and Pure Grow are working together to bring the first pilot of a food project commodity cycle ecosystem.  

UnbankedPure Grow Africa, started in 2015 and focuses on promoting communities to sustainable agri-business and agro-value chain development. It supports farms in Africa by embracing modern technologies and applications to promote economic growth as well as creating community awareness and shared values. Farmers who are with the company strive to keep to the highest standards of food safety, environmental and sustainable policies. To start, Pure Grow will introduce 1,000 farmers and buyers to the Pilot Ecosystem.

Block Commodities will implement and support the ecosystem by providing finance and fertiliser products, as well as supplying the technology.

It will also coordinate loans in cryptocurrency – in the form of Dala tokens – for the already selected team of farmers, according to a company press release. This loan will provide the farmers with cash to purchase fertilisers cheaply and with better repayment plans, which will then enable the farmers to increase the production as well as to scale up and become commercial.

The Food and Agribusiness

Pure Grow’s Director Bobby Juuko Kimbugwe, said: “We are placing smallholder farmers at the centre of our work; they are at the core of what we do. We want them to understand that they do not need to have money in their hands to be able to grow production. Block Commodities is the ideal partner to support growth in African farming.”

Chris Cleverly, Executive Chairman at Block Commodities added that he was delighted about the partnership and hopes to support small-scale farmers and advance the ecosystem.

According to the African Development Bank, the food and agribusiness market is estimated to reach a value of one trillion dollars by 2030. Therefore, highlighting the great opportunity for African agriculture to become a leading player in this market. 

If the pilot phase succeeds, Block Commodities and Pure Grow will introduce the scheme to 50,000 more Pure Grow farmers. Further plans for the project are to expand and cover other countries in sub-Saharan Africa in due time.

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Top Five EOS DApps

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EOS Dapps

Since the EOS blockchain went live in June 2018, a number of EOS DApps (decentralised applications) have been released.

A decentralised application (DApp) is an application that runs on a peer-to-peer network of nodes that confirm transactions and support the network without a central party exerting control over the application. In this article, we will look at five promising DApps that have already been launched or will launch on the EOS blockchain soon.

EOS is a third-generation high-performance blockchain, supporting over 4,000 transactions per second. This high throughput makes the EOS blockchain scalable and enables it to support millions of transactions with zero transaction fees.

Everpedia

EOS DApps

Everpedia – based on Wikipedia – is as an encyclopedia on the EOS blockchain. Already, it is the largest English encyclopedia in the world. The applications incentivises people to appreciate and share knowledge, just as easily as they would on Facebook through the EOS blockchain. 

To learn more about Everipedia, have a look at https://everipedia.org/

ONO

ONO is a decentralised social media application that rewards users for quality content. The platform also ensures through its ecosystem that its users have a secure space to share insights and highlights of their personal lives. The most important feature is that users own their data and ads are optional for viewing on the platform.

Read more about the ecosystem on https://www.ono.chat/en/

Unico

Unico will allow its users to digitise items in a bid to make them collectable and tradeable. This will be possible through the creation of a digital certificate and using “licensing-as-a-service”. To every item with a digital certificate, a set number of tokens will be issued to ensure the item’s rarity and value, and also to enable users to buy, sell and trade their collectables.

Find out more on https://www.unico.global/

Scatter

Scatter aggregates your logins so that as a user, you do not have to use multiple logins to the various EOS dApps. This is an offer of security, personal data ownership, and convenience, as no user has to keep track of the passwords they are using and they will be able to interact with different applications as per their consent.

Scatter will support various blockchain protocols for a robust ecosystem and best of all, all these features are available for free on https://get-scatter.com/

Carmel

Do you want to learn to develop applications on a blockchain, but do not have a background in Computer Science? Do you feel that you need more technical skill for your future career? Carmel is an ecosystem built to empower people with skills in coding without requiring them to have previous academic experience in Computer Science.

The platform will enable learners to build websites, mobile apps, and other applications essential to users in the blockchain ecosystem. https://carmel.io/

It will be exciting to see the change in reach and impact of some of these projects in the coming year as the EOS blockchain ecosystem continues to grow and more users adopt the network and its applications. 

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