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A new dawn for Africa's blockchain ecosystem?

A new dawn for Africa's blockchain ecosystem?

Mauritius-based tech firm Horizon Africa has launched as a platform developed to educate Africans about blockchain technology, encourage start-ups to use it and enable governments to migrate decentralised applications for their public infrastructure.

The company's co-founder, Suyash Sumaroo, predicts a huge uptake of small and medium scale blockchain system implementation within five years.

"The blockchain ecosystem is very underdeveloped in African countries. This is precisely the reason why we need one. It will allow African companies, governments, and start-ups to learn about the tech, develop and prototype on it," said Sumaroo.

He believes the ecosystem will boom in a few years with "hundreds of new projects" in various sectors including financial, agricultural and public sector.

The platform's launch follows President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina's presentation at the 2019 Mo Ibrahim Governance Week held recently in Abidjan.

Adesina urged Africans to embrace technology and governments to urgently move away from "investing in the jobs of the past, but rather in the jobs of the future."

"We must grab the opportunities...We must democratise technology. Africa should prepare itself. Digital technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, big data analytics, blockchain, 3D printing, are already upon us," he said.

Sumaroo said: "Even though the public Ethereum (blockchain) has been available for years, the blockchain landscape in African countries has not developed much. There is a gap which is being filled by Horizon Africa. Its focus is not about creating a network or increasing the value of its token, but instead to allow people to learn about using the network. Building prototypes and ultimately real solutions is a large part of the mission."

He refers to tokenisation of Africa's economy as a credible use case for the platform.

"Tokenisation is a very promising concept, especially so in third world use cases," Sumaroo added. "Having tokenised systems involves reducing the load of managing all these items by the government, who can then concentrate on other important stuff. Think about land registry systems and how a blockchain-based solution can be used to streamline the process, with minimum intervention from the government."

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