Compared to Western nations, many areas of Africa lack extensive infrastructure, entrenched financial institutions, a high degree of political stability and/or large pools of capital. In most traditional senses, these challenges constrain opportunities for growth on the continent.
Yet in many respects, they also create opportunities for the growth of blockchain technology. By design, blockchain frameworks thrive in environments characterized by many of the challenges that Africa and its residents face today.
For this reason, blockchain technology is in a remarkable position to transform African societies and economies. The process is already underway as blockchain adoption grows within Africa, despite challenges like the difficulty of retaining African blockchain developers.
Africa’s Challenges, Blockchain Solutions
In several key ways, blockchain technology offers meaningful solutions to some of Africa’s most pervasive social, political and economic problems.
Consider the following challenges that many African nations face and the ways in which blockchain technology can help solve them:
Blockchain in Africa Today
The application of blockchains as solutions to challenges within Africa is not just theoretical. A number of companies are already using blockchain technology to offer innovative solutions for people on the continent. While they work to solve Africa’s problems, they are taking blockchains in directions that could one day help people all over the world.
BitHub.Africa is one example. Founded in December of 2015 and based in Kenya, BitHub.Africa offers consulting, development and support services to organizations working with blockchain technology on the continent. The initiative aims to promote blockchain use in a range of areas, from financial services to identity management.
Bitland, a blockchain company based in Ghana, has a more specific focus. It is building a blockchain-based land management system, which will allow people to register property ownership via a blockchain, eliminating the need for reliable political authorities to guarantee property rights and confirm transactions.
In the realm of financial transactions, the South African company Bankymoon is working to leverage Bitcoin and other blockchain-based cryptocurrencies to enable securities trading and electronic payments. The company is especially interested in using blockchain to extend financial services to populations whose access to traditional banks is limited.
African blockchain developers are innovating in the area of education, too. Development group otlw, which was founded in Nairobi, is using smart contracts and blockchains to build solutions for assessment of educational content and to drive group learning.
The Challenge of “Brain Drain”
Although otlw was originally based in Africa, its team members are now spread between North America and Dubai. Their exodus from the continent is representative of a broader brain-drain challenge that Africa faces, as some of its talented, native blockchain developers move away to work in areas where blockchain technology is more established.
In order for innovative companies like the ones described above to succeed in Africa, a critical mass of African blockchain experts needs to remain on the continent and education around blockchain technology needs to increase.
Fortunately for these companies, some African blockchain developers have affirmed their commitment to do so, partially out of a principled commitment to improving their homeland through blockchain applications.
And while the specter of brain drain is likely to remain a challenge for Africa as blockchain solutions mature on the continent, the momentum that African blockchain companies have already established in a wide range of niches suggests that the technology is on the path to innovative advancement in Africa, where it promises to help overcome significant roadblocks that the people there have long faced.
What you get:
1) The Distributed Ledger newsletter delivered once a week
2) Access to curated top content & exclusive reporting
3) Discounts and first access to our event series
I'm already a subscriber
Sorry we didn't recognize you, please login with your email below and we'll let you get back to our exclusive content.
Our goal is to bring you high quality content ad-free, all we ask is your email so we can keep you up to date.
I'm already a subscriber