In Kenya, IBM is working to create a blockchain-based microfinance system aimed at food vendors. By tracking sales operations using mobile phone devices and using artificial intelligence to create a credit scoring system, the platform allows microfinance for minute commerce.
The financing process is fully managed through Hyperledger Fabric, from the request for funding to the acceptance of the relevant terms. Cryptocurrencies and mobile money services providers including Binance, MTN, Airtel, etc. are now venturing into agriculture opportunities across the region.
Generally, the East African Community (EAC) is doing well when it comes to blockchain technology implantation. In 2018, leaders from the region including John Pombe Magufuli, the president of Tanzania embraced the launch of DLT in the battle to put coffee corruption and ghost government workers to an end. Recently, Rwanda allocated large sums of money to fund the development of cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence and blockchain initiatives. Uganda is also using the blockchain technology to prevent counterfeiting of medical drug, the country also issued the first license to form a free zone for cryptocurrency and DLT. On a bad note, due to the lack of proper regulations and the increasing use of cryptocurrencies in the EAC, more than $2,715,000 (10 billion UGX) was lost in a cryptocurrency scam in Uganda, as we reported back in December.
In 2018, Doctors Land Governance (MLG) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Rwanda Government Land Management and Use Authority and the Rwanda Information Society Authority, for the creation of a blockchain-based system for the management of control of land and property rights. In assessing the importance of such systems, it is useful to remember the absence of land systems, common to many African countries, and the abuses that can lead to the absence of a non-transparent and reliable proprietary rights registration system.
Such shortfalls have so far limited investment by farmers who are not inclined to make long-term investments in the absence of certainty with respect to their own property title; such uncertainties on the property security also limit the possibility of offering land as collateral for financing transactions.
The environment above offers insights into the different speeds that technological innovation is being embraced and carried out in Africa as well as in the rest of the world, overcoming points of impasse that would hardly be solved differently.
The outlook is well-considered, although essential steps are still lacking, such as adequate internet coverage of the African continent, the absence of investment capital and a regulatory support framework. However, everything suggests that technological innovation including cryptocurrency and blockchain will be one of the workhorses on which Africa can rely on to achieve adequate and sustainable development.