Business 13 July 2018

Dennis Wafula

Crypto in Africa: Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe embraces blockchain, Kenya moves closer to regulation

Accepting blockchain and its technologies has not been an easy task in Africa. However, the technology is slowly making headway in the continent. In particular, the cocoa farming industry has seen significant growth in the recent months due to technologies like digitization.

The Olam Farming Information System (OFIS) has helped many farmers maximize farm products in Africa, Asia, and South America. OFIS is a technology solution, optimized for online and offline operation, utilizes GPS to survey and record key data points on farms like cocoa farms—from the number of trees to the age of trees as well as the surrounding local infrastructures like schools and health centers. Olam subsidiary Olam Cocoa, a global supplier of cocoa beans and cocoa products, uses the data to create and distribute individualized “Farm Development Plans,” which give the farmers their specially-designed strategies for improving productivity and crop quality.

Kenya moves closer to cryptocurrency regulation

Kenya has been in the vanguard of testing blockchain and its related technologies. The country has had numerous startups, crypto conventions and even has a Bitcoin ATM installed in Nairobi. The continuous increase in cryptocurrency activities has caused the government to take action. During a parliamentary seating, the Kenyan Parliament ordered Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich to investigate whether the crypto industry in the country needs to be regulated or not. The Kenyan Parliament gave Rotich two weeks to conduct the research.

Members of the Finance and National Planning Committee reportedly asked Rotich why the Treasury and the Central Bank of Kenya “allowed people to venture into the unregulated cryptocurrency space without being licensed to operate and taxed,” according to Business Daily Africa.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe embraces blockchain tech

After months of fighting cryptocurrency adoption in Zimbabwe, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) might soon be embracing these technologies. While speaking in Alpha Media Holdings’ Banks and Banking breakfast, RBZ Gov. John Mangudya said the country was ready to embrace blockchain technology.

He added that it is time the country took part in blockchain and what it has to offer. He further added that Zimbabwe as a country wants to join other countries across the globe in the blockchain market.

Mangudya stated that there is a lot of research and education that needs to be done before the country can fully embrace this technology. He believes that understanding the technology will help the country make proper decisions in the future. It is not yet clear when the Zimbabwean government will start making decisions to embrace blockchain and its technologies. However, this is good news to many cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiasts in the country.

Update: An earlier version of this article inaccurately described OFIS as an organization that uses blockchain app to help farmers get information that will help them manage and make proper use of the available land. The article has been updated to correct that mistake.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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