Artificial Intelligence - Nigeria

Africa can use blockchain, AI to curb illicit finance: Nigeria’s anti-graft chief

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Blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI) have a role to play in Africa’s fight against illicit finance, Nigeria’s anti-graft agency chief says.

Olanipekun Olukoyede, who heads the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, spoke at the Pan-African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Taxation in Tunisia. He revealed that the region loses over $88 billion annually to illicit finance—money that could be used to fund critical infrastructure, education, or healthcare.

The Pan-African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Taxation is an annual event organized by the African Union. This year’s agenda was using the region’s tax agenda to combat illegal finance.

Olukoyede, who delivered the keynote address, called on African nations to work together through the AU’s Common Africa Position on Asset Recovery. The region’s cooperation with global partners is also critical, he added, citing the recovery of over $300 million stashed in the U.S. by former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha.

Olukoyede added that technology will play a key role in thwarting the flow of illicit finance in Africa. He cited artificial intelligence, data analytics, and blockchain as the three key technologies that African nations can leverage.

Blockchain industry leaders in Nigeria have long called on the government to adopt the technology. While the country leads Africa in blockchain integration, many feel the government can do much more.

Speaking to CoinGeek, Obinna Iwuno, who heads the Stakeholders in Blockchain Association of Nigeria (SiBAN), noted that blockchain can enhance transparency within the government, boosting accountability. Africa is estimated to lose $140 billion annually to corruption, and blockchain can help eliminate many of the loopholes the corrupt officials exploit, added Iwuno.

While the EFCC leader called for blockchain adoption, he has maintained an anti-digital asset stance. His agency has been at the forefront of this year’s ‘crypto’ crackdown, including the arrest and prosecution of the Binance officials.

Olukoyede has maintained that digital assets have often been used in illegal activities. During a stakeholders’ meeting in May, he stated, “[Digital assets] are potential platforms to fund terrorism. A lot of us don’t understand that… They used some of these young men. Some of them don’t know that the people who gave them money to trade are people who fund terrorism.”

In order for artificial intelligence (AI) to work right within the law and thrive in the face of growing challenges, it needs to integrate an enterprise blockchain system that ensures data input quality and ownership—allowing it to keep data safe while also guaranteeing the immutability of data. Check out CoinGeek’s coverage on this emerging tech to learn more why Enterprise blockchain will be the backbone of AI.

Watch: The future has already arrived in Nigeria | BSV Stories – Episode 10

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