Unpacking the Potential of Blockchain and Infrastructure in Africa

Africa is the fastest-growing mobile market and it could possibly make this continent the world’s biggest payment systems based on blockchain tech and unbanked industry.
The vast swathes of Africa’s fertile lands may ultimately prove a central arena for the ground-up development of innovative digital infrastructure and green energy projects. Recent pivotal moments in African trade, such as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, are setting the table for an environment conducive to rapid growth, where both energy and financial infrastructure are a primary focus. Africa’s untapped economic potential is no secret. The continent’s population has soared past more than 1.3 billion, which accounts for roughly 17% of the world’s population and is mostly comprised of young people, with two-thirds of the population below the age of 24. Such a bulge in the youth of Africa has helped fuel the fastest-growing mobile market in the world, but one that still lacks a robust financial infrastructure. Despite the ubiquity of mobile phones (specifically Nokia), only 6% of Africans make payments with a mobile device. But that could all change soon. The opportunity for Africa lies directly with the ability to potentially leapfrog an entire generation of financial and energy infrastructure — a luxury that countries in the Western Hemisphere lack. And the world is taking notice. A blossoming financial environment Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was recently in mainstream headlines following an extended visit to Africa, after which, he announced that he would be returning for three to six months in mid-2020. The excitement stirred by his statement centered on his ongoing work with his payments company Square and its relatively new venture oriented on Bitcoin — Square Crypto. Related: Crypto in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges, ExplainedSquare Crypto is focusing on Bitcoin payment and investment solutions for mobile users and has garnered some impressive revenue in 2019. However, those results have largely been confined to the U.S. — something Dorsey is seeking to change. His temporary move to Africa will likely encompass an in-depth exploration of how to improve access to financial services and assets such as Bitcoin. According to the African Development Bank report, “Financial Inclusion in Africa,” the leading prohibitive factor in more robust financial infrastructure is inadequate access to financial services.The pieces to the puzzle for improving access are available, though. And it is precisely where Africa can break free of outdated systems like SWIFT and payment processors replete with trust issues and high fees. Blockchain firms focusing on instant, low-cost payments have subsequently swooped in at the opportunity to craft a new kind of financial infrastructure from its foundation. Payment systems relying on blockchains can bypass conventional obstacles, embedding themselves directly into the hands of Africa’s more than 456 million mobile users. Should Square Crypto expand its operations to cover the populous regions of Africa that Dorsey has hinted as the first in line for Bitcoin development (such as Nigeria), then direct access to Bitcoin investing, Square Crypto, and payment rails will be at the fingertips of more than 350 million unbanked adults. Related: Africa

Post written by our friend Chris Cleverly and Syndicated from Cointelegraph
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