The blockchain technology is taking the world by a storm and Nigeria is part of the countries riding on its tide. It goes beyond cryptocurrency which is its most common use case and branches into various industries and sectors. The blockchain technology is a decentralized, open source and distributed database used to record transactions across many computers in such a way that data cannot be altered without causing a disruption across subsequent blocks in the network.
The big question seems to be how the blockchain technology can cause a radical change in the way and method in which things have been done in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular? And if there is an aspect that the transparent nature of the blockchain technology would be needed in Africa, it would be in tackling corruption. The adoption of the technology across the continent is moving quite slowly but surely. Countries like Kenya have embraced the technology by setting up an 11-member task force to focus on how the country can maximize the benefits of the blockchain and Internet of things (IoT).
Although countries like Nigeria, known as the giant of Africa is still dragging her feet on the blockchain technology, choosing rather, to focus on cryptocurrency and its volatility. The blockchain technology will aid in fighting against corruption in the following sectors.
In February, Agora a Swiss-based blockchain company offering verified voting solutions built on their blockchain network to governments made a claim that they conducted the very first blockchain based election in the world in Sierra Leone. Although the Government debunked the claim, imagine the bloodshed and stress a trustworthy election can prevent in Nigeria. The 2015 presidential elections that was reportedly rigged in some parts of the country can be verified using the blockchain technology.
The public healthcare system of Nigeria is hanging by threads and applying the blockchain technology to this sector will help a great deal. As it stands, the rural healthcare institution is relatively untouched by technological advancement. Also, the sector is even grossly unrepresented in the national budget with just 3.95% of the total national budget for 2018 allocated to health. The problem isn’t the misrepresentation of the health sector in the national budget but the fact that the budget is not fully actualized leading to a depreciated health sector. But with the application of blockchain to issues ranging from medical records to managing pharmaceutical supply chain transactions and execution of the healthcare sector can be monitored on the blockchain network.
Most of the Northern states in Nigeria have been battling with terrorism for some time now. With a terrorist group known as Boko Haram kidnapping young girls and training teenage boys to be suicide bombers. Tracking transactions is still needed as the blockchain technology makes it difficult to fund terrorism especially with the use of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.
The blockchain technology can be applied in a multitude of ways including identification such as the government of Estonia is doing. By allowing citizens access variety of services and rights enable by their e-identities. Pensioners should not be left out as tracking their pensions and gratuity will be easy and there will be lesser pension and tax fraud.
While we wait for the Government of Nigeria to adopt the blockchain technology, its citizens are already making use of cryptocurrencies, solving problems by creating blockchain startups and creating a name for themselves. The dream of Nigeria taking the front row in the crypto and blockchain space is one we hope comes true very soon.
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