Sandra Ro, CEO of the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC) and Chief Operating Officer of UWIN, the blockchain business aiming to transform farming and commodity trading in the developing world, believes African governments are among the most open to embracing blockchain technology, and the continent will benefit significantly from this.
However, Ms Ro, who is participating at this week’s Transform Africa Summit in Rwanda (7th – 9th May 2018), warns more still needs to be done to ensure the regulatory environment in Africa is as supportive as possible for the sector. Without this, it faces a growing risk of a ‘brain drain’ where its blockchain entrepreneurs are enticed away to other continents.
Ms Ro says that compared to other continents, Africa has fewer legacy systems to slow down the introduction of blockchain technology, and it can ‘leapfrog’ antiquated systems in much the same way as it bypassed the more expensive landlines in favour of mobile phones.
Sandra Ro said: “Africa has long been associated with instability and poor financial and physical infrastructure, but it’s this environment where blockchain can thrive the most. Africa has enormous potential with so much of its population ‘unbanked’, and there are significant issues around land rights and registration all of which means millions of Africans are excluded from the global market economy. Blockchain, coupled with key technologies like mobile and cloud solutions, offer a promising way to address these issues and Africa stands to benefit significantly if it truly embraces it.
“With UWIN for example, we are already in discussion with some African governments on how they could use our new and unique technology proposition that for the first time will enable farmers in the developing world to properly register their commodities, mobilise them and efficiently trade their produce on a trusted platform.
“However, as Africa builds on its reputation as a hub of blockchain innovation, it also runs the risk of a tech ‘brain drain’, in much the same way as it has seen with its medical profession with many nurses and doctors working overseas. One way to help tackle this is for African governments to make the continent the most appealing for blockchain innovators.”