On Nov. 2, the African Digital Asset Framework (ADAF) launched with a mandate to promote cryptocurrency commerce within the continent. Co-founder Felix Macharia said ADAF is an open-source software platform to create cross-border standards for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. It will also complement the African Union’s Single African Digital Market initiative, which leverages technology to stimulate digitized economic integration.
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‘Digital Assets Know No Borders’
“ADAF was formed by organizations in the digital asset space who looked to harmonize standards and regulation in the space,” Macharia, who heads strategy at the Nairobi-based project, told news.Bitcoin.com. “Digital assets know no borders. If Africa is to benefit from the full potential of distributed ledger technologies and even from agreements around free trade, we must start drafting standards, legislation and regulations that are in line with this new reality,” he added.
The framework, which is backed by ambassadors of the African Union, its member states and the African Development Bank (AfDB), marked its inception with a research and development paper on digitally-driven borderless commerce within the African continent and between its diaspora. The paper points to virtual currencies like bitcoin as key to enhancing economic integration within and beyond the continent, while actively developing strong legal and technological standards on the project’s open-source platform.
Africa has an economic footprint across the globe through its diaspora, but trade between African countries accounts for only 11 percent of the continent’s collective gross domestic product. Africa’s inchoate intra-continental trade infrastructure is partially responsible for the great conundrum whereby some African countries earn a measly 5 percent royalty for their natural resources, according to pan-Africanist journalist Baffour Ankomah.
ADAF to Spur Cross-Border Trade
“Digital assets create a secure way for people to trade, peer-to-peer, across borders, enabling people to securely access and transfer items like currency, identities, land titles and votes over the internet,” ADAF said, in a separate online statement. Standards will be tabled, discussed, edited, and implemented on the ADAF platform, with a view to “encouraging digital asset ownership and value exchange in digital economies between Africans and its diaspora.”
Macharia stated that the platform, built around the idea of collective creation, will display technological codes and policy proposals for different commercial sectors, data on sustainable development objectives, and thought leadership from community members. It includes a multi-lingual interface for individuals, civil society, entrepreneurs and policymakers to propose solutions, actions and standards of self-regulation that reflect changes in the cryptocurrency space, as well as offering translation services for such proposals.
Diplomatic heavyweights signed to the pan-African initiative include former president of Mauritius Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim; AfDB chief of corporate governance and shareholder relations Adewale Iyanda; and Queen Diambi Kabatusuila Tshiyoyo Muata of DRC’s Kasai Kingdom. There is also a high-profile tech buy-in, with ambassadors such as the AU’s Head of Internet Society and ICT Infrastructure Moctar Yedaly and chair of Kenya Blockchain and AI Taskforce Dr. Bitange Ndemo.
ADAF was initially introduced to the global community as an idea on Nelson Mandela international day at the United