Partnership and collaboration: keys to promoting Blockchain adoption in Africa

A World Economic Forum survey forecasts that about ten percent of global GDP will be stored on blockchain by 2027. The global spending on blockchain solutions is also expected to increase by almost 12 billion dollars by 2022. As promising as blockchain appears, it cannot thrive successfully without effective collaboration and partnership. 

The need for effective collaboration in the blockchain space cannot be overemphasized. Akin Sawyer, Strategy and Governance Lead for Decred, comments that “blockchain technology is very much influenced by current and upcoming regulation, and the overall government attitude towards this technology.” The blockchain industry in Africa cannot progress and experience mass adoption without effective partnership with the government and the development of effective regulations by the government. “In some cases, regulation is missing and that uncertainty can spook a lot of investors. By adopting business friendly regulation, some European countries like Switzerland, Estonia and Malta, have become fertile grounds for many blockchain startups.” 

Regulation is critical to the development of blockchain in Africa, and this can only be achieved through effective partnership with the government. The absence of regulations scare away many potential investors from Africa’s budding blockchain industry because of the great risk and uncertainty associated with such investment. Considering that the industry requires sufficient investment to increase the adoption of  blockchain technology in Africa, the absence of regulatory frameworks in most parts of the continent may significantly hinder the growth of blockchain. In September 2020, Nigeria, through the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), proposed a regulatory framework for blockchain in the country. This move signalled a greenlight to investors, innovators, solution providers and leading organizations, to participate in the blockchain space. Although there is still more that needs to be done on the development of regulations for blockchain in the country, the  SEC regulation and the anticipated National Information Technology Development Agency(NITDA) Blockchain Policy Strategy Document promises a speedy widespread adoption of blockchain in the country in the near future. An effective synergy between the government and the blockchain industry in Africa is necessary to speed up the adoption of blockchain in the continent.

The blockchain space is an interconnected industry and no organization can single-handedly drive the desired adoption. This warrants the need for an effective collaboration between several players within the blockchain industry. For impressive growth to occur, all hands must be on deck. Africa needs to encourage more collaboration between local organizations within the blockchain industry and the rest of the global blockchain industry. Prominent global blockchain players like IBM have branches in Africa. A lot of these organizations have sufficient resources that can be tapped into, via effective collaboration, to facilitate the adoption of blockchain in Africa. 

Blockchain adoption can only be strengthened through the increased usage of the technology. In Africa, for blockchain to experience increased adoption, there is a critical need for blockchain solution providers to collaborate with existing organizations to implement the use of blockchain. The prevalence of blockchain solutions in the continent will usher in the need for Africans to learn more about the technology after becoming users of the technology. In 2018, the Nigerian Customs Service embraced the use of blockchain in its operations. The organization has integrated the Oracle blockchain to automate processes and ensure transparency. Collaborative efforts like this, are moves that will draw Africa closer to the realm of mass adoption of blockchain.

Africa needs active Blockchain education

Another critical facilitator of blockchain adoption in Africa is blockchain education.  Sufficient education of the continent’s populace can only be achieved when organizations partner with one another for the overall growth and development of the industry. Africa is home to over a billion people. Hence, to facilitate blockchain education in this densely populated region, more partnerships have to be created between necessary parties like the government, necessary institutions, and local and international blockchain-focused companies to supply the resources that are required to achieve this goal. One of such developments is the BlockchainDev1000 program that was created by the Blockchain Nigeria User Group, in partnership with IBM West Africa, Vite Labs, Hyperledger and Radical Hub, amid other organizations. The program was designed to train 1000 blockchain talents in Nigeria, within 2 years. If thousands of this kind of initiative exist across Africa, 2 years will be more than enough to raise a significant workforce for the blockchain industry. The more people are educated about what blockchain is, the higher the chances of increased adoption.

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