IMA-ABASI PIUS writes that beyond the poverty narratives on Africa, blockchain startups are charting a new course for the continent.
Africa serves as home to over a billion people with diverse culture, languages and beliefs. A continent which holds great promises, but is being ravaged by poverty, hunger, diseases, insecurity, and a wide range of other problems threatening its existence.
For decades, experts have conducted various researches, made series of assumptions, and have also tried to draw several conclusions, as to why many of these problems are being faced in Africa and how to go about solving them, but have all failed to notice one key point.
Africa as a continent, is fully endowed with so much natural resources, sufficient to cater for majority of the challenges being faced today in most of its regions, but is being stunted by the lack of innovations and infrastructures necessary to make this happen.
Currently, Africa is being regarded as a major player in the Global agricultural market, with agricultural activities making up for 24 per cent of its total GDP, but still, every year over nine million people die of hunger and hunger-related diseases across its regions. This simple statistic, gives full validation to the fact that Africa, unlike the rest of the world, is filled with so much untapped potentials which with the proper tool, could be harnessed to provide solutions to most of its current problems.
With this being said, it is obvious that we’ve gone past a point where valuable time should be spent on listing out these problems and dishing out mind-boggling stats which will only make the situation seem worse in the eyes of the public. But rather, we’ve reached a point where we all could embrace these problems and also work towards providing lasting solutions to them. Africa’s greatest problem from the onset, has been the lack of capacity to harness its natural resources for the betterment of its citizens, and how to go about this is the Big Question we all should be asking.
The Rise of Blockchain Startups in Africa
Ever since blockchain technology rose to prominence in 2008, this requisite tool has been leveraged to impact change in virtually every sector today. Blockchain is currently touted as one of the most sought-after tech of this modern generation, but till this day it is still being regarded as a vague concept in Africa. However, while there seem to be some form of lack of enthusiasm in the adoption of the blockchain concept in Africa, a large number of tech companies today are beginning to realize how valuable it is, and are currently looking to leverage this modern tech to provide solutions to some major challenges faced in the continent.
Within the past few years, we have witnessed the birth of a large number of blockchain startups in major countries across Africa, with notable countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana being the forerunner of this major evolution. The launch of most of these blockchain startups, have led to the total disruption of Africa’s financial sector, as a large number of businesses today now operate seamlessly through the use of this decentralized technology. Blockchain, have paved way for the development of a new and improved way of transferring value across various countries without any government restriction.
Kenya’s BitPesa, since its launch in 2013, has consistently provided Africans with a convenient and cost-effective way of facilitating cross-border business-to-business payment through the use of Bitcoin. Also, South Africa’s Bankymoon, under the space of five years, has completely disrupted the traditional payment methods adopted by smart metering companies through a modern payment gateway fueled by Bitcoin. Even its recent selection by the South African Central Bank to be the sandbox business in testing out digital currency regulations in the country, shows how promising the future looks for this history-defining project.
However, while it appears as if a large number of these startups are mainly focusing on improving the financial sector alone, this might not be the case, as recent developments seem to suggest that no sector is being left out in this major evolution.
Blockchain, provides a pretty vast ecosystem which satisfies a wide range of use cases and so far, blockchain startups in Africa appears to be providing solutions to most the major problems faced in mainstream sector, which includes: the agricultural sector, power sector, health sector, educational sector, and a wide range of others whose major development would be integral to the growth of the African economy.
In Nigeria, HouseAfrica has developed the continent’s first blockchain-based property registry which would help provide banks, lawyers and other stakeholders with a fast, simple and secure solution for land registry and property mortgage. CustosTech; a reputable blockchain startup in South Africa, recently paved way for the entertainment industry to tackle piracy through the use of cutting edge digital content technologies that allows owners to distribute, protect and manage sensitive media content on the chain. The list of the solutions provided by most of the currently existing blockchain startup goes on and on, and it cuts across every sector that makes up Africa’s economy.
Africa is currently going through a phase which experts call a major paradigm shift, and blockchain is at the center of it all. Blockchain technology, has consistently built a proven track record across every sector it has been leveraged in and this alone, should be enough proof that Africa would thrive if this cutting edge technology is fully adopted in mainstream sectors across the continent. Blockchain startups are obviously the key to most of the pressing challenges faced in major industries in Africa today, and the sooner we realize their true potential, the faster we move towards a better Africa.