[Africa Tech Week] Blockchain community currencies to fight poverty
With major economic sectors across Africa increasingly embracing the pivotal role of ICT to harmonize daily operations and remain globally competitive, numerous developments have taken place this week that have once again rubberstamped the ubiquitous role of technology from the continent’s boardrooms to the underserved.
For starters, Bancor, the decentralized network for digital currencies, has announced it is launching the world’s first blockchain-based community currencies in Kenya aimed at combating poverty through the stimulation of local and regional commerce and peer-to-peer economic collaboration. This coming at a time when numerous cryptocurrency institutions foray in to the African market which are geared towards enhancing e-commerce and even finding their way to vital sectors of the continent like health.
The week also saw The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launch a Pan-African Entrepreneurship Portal-Platform dubbed The YAS! (Youth for Africa and SDGs). It is designed for young African entrepreneurs with the intent of cultivating an ecosystem that will promote mentorship, funding, information-sharing and networking. This has bolstered the many initiatives that are leveraging on technology to empower African entrepreneurs.
Tanzania made major strides this week in terms of ICT. First Vodacom, the country’s leading mobile network operator won the 700 MHz spectrum auction which had been announced by Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, allowing the telco accelerate increased coverage. It is one of the many strategies it has been rolling to grow foothold in the country including a successful Sh500 billion shares IPO, the highest in the history of the Tanzanian IPOs, and the drive to grow retailers numbers in its mobile payment platform as it sets out to use its market influence to lead the charge towards a cashless society.
Still in Tanzania, Mastercard and Selcom have expanded their collaboration by signing a seven year strategic partnership agreement to introduce a variety of payment solutions in the country, thus supporting Tanzania’s goal of becoming a cashless economy. Mastercard that has actively been pushing for cashless transactions, has successfully implemented the programme in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Rwanda among others.
In its latest strategic partnership taking advantage of the world cup, Kwesé iflix, the entertainment service for emerging markets, has announced the launch of its premier digital entertainment platform in Nigeria, in partnership with telecommunication company Airtel. It has signed similar deals with money transfer company WorldRemit and Kenya’s telecommunication company Safaricom.
In the import export business, RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc has launched the Africa e commerce site to meet the requirements of a growing continent with demand from various industries such as manufacturing, mining, automotive, utilities, electronics, and industrial IOT.
GFI Software Aurea SMB Solutions has also signed a new distribution agreement for South Africa with Ingram Micro, one of the world's largest wholesale technology distributors.
And ModulTrade through ModulTrade blockchain based smart-contract platform, MT WALLET and MT MARKET, has entered Africa after signing agreements with leading financial & logistic organizations.