The Blockchain Africa Participants Optimistic About Continent Becoming Center of Progress

Several use cases for blockchain-based solutions in Africa could potentially drive the technology forward in a global context.
The Blockchain Africa conference produced a swathe of optimism for Africa to become a driving force behind the development and use of new blockchain-powered technologies.Over the past few years, blockchain has replaced cryptocurrency as the “it” word in the fintech space. It is a fact that was mirrored by the Blockchain Africa conference itself, with speakers focusing more on the possibilities of blockchain answering a number of industry inefficiencies, and far less on cryptocurrency trading and tokenized solutions.Africa has its own unique challenges in the global space given that many of its countries are trailing behind the rest of the world in infrastructure development. While the asymmetric digital subscriber lines and fiber internet connectivity is still being rolled out in many countries, mobile tower services have driven the proliferation of mobile payments systems.To say that Africans have taken to these services would be an understatement. The M-Pesa mobile payment service is a prime example that shows Africans can quickly adopt technologies that improve their day-to-day lives. Mobile network provider Vodafone estimates that over 37 million people across seven African countries currently use M-Pesa, which was launched in 2007.This is just one example of how people in Africa have benefitted from a future-forward solution to build a bridge to the people that are unbanked on the continent. In general, fintech solutions are being readily adopted and driven by African countries and companies. As Cointelegraph reported in an event recap of the Blockchain Africa conference, blockchain technology is already being explored by trade finance, supply chain and self-sovereign identity sectors. Here are the main use cases that can be observed right now:A solution for Africa’s ID problemsThe issue of Self-Sovereign Identity is a particularly interesting one in an African context, given the difficulty many people on the continent face when trying to obtain ID documentation. By way of definition, SSI refers to a situation where individuals hold and control their own identification credentials.Victor Mapunda, CEO and founder of startup FlexFinTx, made a compelling case for a move to digital-based identities at the Blockchain Africa conference. In his presentation, data quoted by Mapunda estimates that nearly 400 million Africans do not have proper identification credentials. This then leads to a multitude of difficulties, as these people are unable to open bank accounts, apply for insurance or other financial products.Related: Blockchain Digital ID — Putting People in Control of Their DataBeing banked and having insurance is a luxury when considering the deeper problems that are plaguing the continent. Referring to information supplied by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, only eight African countries have birth registration systems that cover 90% of the population.Countries like Chad and Tanzania are only able to cover 12% of births in the country. Conversely, Egypt, Mauritius and Seychelles are the only three African countries that register deaths covering more than 90% of their population.The key takeaway is that there is

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