Blockchain Adoption in Kenya, An Interview With Blockchain Taskforce Chairman Bitange Ndemo.

As the world moves to tap into the Blockchain potential benefits, there has been increased interest in Kenya’s private and public sectors. Bitcoin Africa reached out to Bitange Ndemo, who is the chairman of the Blockchain & AI Taskforce for his insights on the subject for a more understanding of the state of blockchain adoption/ integration in Kenya.
Despite that Kenya Blockchain adoption is still at the infancy level, there are already a good number of companies who already implemented this disruptive technology to overcome various challenges.The most notable of these companies include IBM, TAZ technologies, and Twiga Foods.

Moreover, Kenya’s Ministry of Housing has declared its plans to improve transparency by way of executing its affordable housing project on blockchain technology. Kenya’s telecom giant such as Safaricom, Kenya’s electoral body, and the Association of Construction Managers of Kenya have also shown interest in the adoption and implementation of distributed ledger technology.

The government seems interested in the creation of an environment to enable widespread blockchain implementation with several recommendations towards adoption of blockchain made by it including AI taskforce, is a good evidence to it. Creating trusted digital identities and a central bank digital currency are some of the taskforce’s recommendations

Creating Trusted Digital Identities

In the past few months, to enable them to access government services more accordingly, Kenyans had engaged in the registration of a digital identity.
According to Mr. Ndemo, “the Huduma number that is ‘digital number’ initiative was a recommendation of the taskforce by the government to give Kenyans a trusted digital identity. The essence is for the creation of the blockchain to ensure the smooth and seemingly no issues in the provision of services,”

Another reason for a trusted digital identity is for the prevention of problems like the duplication of identification numbers and the need to hold multiple numbers from a driving license number to a birth certificate number.

Developing a Central Bank Digital Currency(CBDC)

There was a proposal for the development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in 2018 by the taskforce which would act as a valid legal tender. Though we are not yet clear if the CBDC will be executed on the blockchain, aside that, the digital currency would improve transactions generally as it will be transparent, traceability and therefore reduce rising cases of corruption in the East African nation.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and its officials are working together with the taskforce putting their supports on the proposal to create a legal sandbox, according to Ndemo.
South Africa’s central bank is not left out in this initiative for example, S.A is already making so much efforts in exploring a CBDC, this strides could motivate the CBK and the taskforce to develop these plans further.

Tokenising the Kenyan Economy

According to Ndemo, Kenya’s economy needs to be tokenised which will make Kenyans to enjoy benefits such as increased liquidity, elimination of intermediaries, better security during the transfer of assets, faster transfer of ownership, and the ability to sell or buy assets at any time of the day. Tokenisation of assets is another important aspect of blockchain adoption in Kenya. “To help the citizens to understand this process, we really need to gradually begin to tokenise the economy and develop some value chains.” Ndemo stated.

What is Tokenisation

Tokenisation involves the process of digitally storing the rights to an asset on a blockchain enabling the transfer of ownership from one person to another. Some examples of assets that can be tokenised includes houses, land, music rights, art, information, and identity.

The Future of Blockchain Adoption in Kenya

As Kenya strives to live up to its African Silicon Valley title so to say, much is expected from Blockchain and AI Taskforce to achieve this. Therefore, the taskforce has an a giant task as the implementation of some of its proposals begins.
When asked about the future of blockchain adoption in Kenya, Bitange said adoption is inevitable.
“Since two months ago we have been working on blockchain and AI report which is through and now we are starting some of the implementations,” Bitange asserted.

“There is no choice but to embrace these disruptive technologies which is very good and important even as several enterprises have already started to use the fourth industrial revolution technologies with excellent results. Soon, virtually everybody will need these technologies.”

Looking at the vibrant local tech startup scene, with a small but established cryptocurrency community, and a government with it’s interest and support of blockchain technology, Kenya is positioning itself to become a leader in distributed ledger technologies. Most likely it may not take long for blockchain trials to turn into blockchain solutions that are being used by Kenyans on a day-to-day basis. This what we hope to achieve as we all move to embrace blockchain in it’s totallity.

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