The African continent has historically lagged behind other nations, especially in technology. For one, the number of internet users is way below other continents. According to the International Communication Union, only 36% of Africans have access to the internet. In comparison, internet penetration in North America stands at 95%, with Europe standing at 85%. While some countries such as Kenya have an 85% penetration, others such as Eritrea and Chad are below 5%.
With this in mind, you would be forgiven for thinking that Africa would take a backseat as the rest of the world explores blockchain technology. However, Africa has been anything but.
Startups have sprung up across the continent, all seeking to apply blockchain technology to solve the continent’s challenges. Just recently, a South African coffee company announced that it was using blockchain technology to track its coffee supply from Uganda. The firm, Carico Café Connoisseur, has already delivered tons of coffee in South Africa using the blockchain network.
This is just the latest in a rapidly growing number of startups exploring blockchain technology. In Rwanda and Kenya, the blockchain is being used to solve land registration, an issue that has been the source of conflict in the two countries. In Congo, IBM partnered with Ford to monitor the mining of cobalt and track it to the final consumer. The partnership aims to stamp out child labor in the mining industry, a rampant challenge, especially in Congo.
BitPesa has been facilitating millions of dollars between Africa and its trading partners using blockchain technology at just a fraction of the cost. Ugandan blockchain startup Wala has partnered with the Prince of the Buganda kingdom to bring electricity to hundreds of thousands of households,