With blockchain technology poised to hit the mainstream, Africa is pushing forward with an in-depth investigation into this so-named “Blockchain Revolution.” Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has recently appointed an 11-member task force to explore the development potential of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI) in Kenya. The team, which is led by the renowned ICT champion Dr. Bitange Ndemo who previously held a permanent secretary position within the Ministry of Information and Communications, aims to produce an extensive road map for the practical application and integration of these technologies across various sectors in Kenya during its tenure.
The investigation will primarily be carried out on distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) and AI. In simple terms, DLTs are shared databases managed and accessed by a network of individual users or moderators. Unlike the databases that currently power financial transactions across the world, DLTs are decentralized. Every action that takes place in one of these ledgers must be agreed on by all the moderators in the network, otherwise, it doesn’t get recorded. This peer management system means it is impossible to erase or counterfeit either individual transactions in the ledger or the ledger itself. The blockchain has many uses and application; the most well-known use of this technology, which, in turn, supports that ubiquitous cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Even in their application to the cryptocurrency industry, there are numerous different blockchain equivalents created through DLTs that are supporting thousands of different cryptocurrencies.
Another global industry that is often linked to DLTs via blockchain technology is the iGaming industry. There several innovations in development throughout the industry harnessing the potential of DLTs, and various dedicated cryptocurrencies for online gaming are currently in circulation. However, it will be some time before the blockchain and its like are fully integrated into iGaming products from software developers like NetEnt and the real money apps of platforms like PokerStars. Instead, we could start to see this powerful technology become integrated on a domestic level.
DLTs have many more applications beyond powering cryptocurrencies and online gaming activities. In fact, DLTs are currently being used in a trial by organizations and governments across the globe for use in areas like supply chain management, the storage of sensitive data and the development of secure processes such as voting systems. Kenya’s Ministry is especially interested in their potential application for the land and education sectors.
The task force also includes tech entrepreneur and consultant Juliana Rotich, the co-founder of BRCK and Ushahidi who is currently consulting for Novato Africa, and Steve Chege, Safaricom’s head of corporate affairs, in prominent roles. One of its aims will be to investigate the benefits of decentralizing incubation hubs in Nairobi and beyond. According to Mr. Mucheru, part of the team’s remit will be to explore the “possibility of an innovation SACCO (Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization) and/or fund within the next 12 months” for the preferred sectors.
The full team comprises of Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Juliana Rotich, Steve Chege, John Gitau, Lesley Mbogo, Michael Onyango, Fred Michuki, Mahmoud Mohammed Noor, Elizabeth Ondula, Dr. Charity Wayua and John Walubengo. Currently, the task force will have a full tenure of three months at the end of which they will present their findings in a National Blockchain Road Map. The full announcement is available to watch through NTV Kenya’s official YouTube channel.