How the Africa Blockchain Institute is shaping the region’s blockchain future

Acquiring skills in blockchain technology hasn’t been easy. Reputable learning institutions are only getting started with their blockchain programs. In Africa, acquiring blockchain skills is even more challenging since leading colleges have yet to offer blockchain-related courses. The Africa Blockchain Institute (ABI) is out to change this, promoting the adoption, development, and use of blockchain in the continent.

The institute was established to impart skills in blockchain technology at a time when the continent is standing up to be counted as a blockchain hub. As CoinGeek reported, 2019 has been quite the year for Africa in regards to blockchain adoption. The ABI wants to ensure this adoption rises even higher in the coming years.

In an interview with CoinGeek, Kayode Babarinde, executive director of the institute, said, “Africa Blockchain Institute was founded on the premise of promoting the adoption, development, and use of blockchain technology by providing high quality blockchain education to professionals, entrepreneurs, government regulators, and the public.”

The pilot phase was conducted in Ghana, a country considered to be among the leaders in blockchain adoption. The ABI launched the inaugural class on “Blockchain Essentials Certification,” where participants were introduced to the fundamentals of blockchain technology, equipping them with tools and platforms to get them started, then, providing them with opportunities to scale. This pilot was a huge success, with a high number of interested learners. The institute also got the support of several entities, including the World Economic Forum through its Global Shapers initiative.

It’s been an interesting journey so far, Babarinde tells us. Despite blockchain being a nascent technology, interest has been steadily rising. Both the private and public entities have recognized the massive opportunities the technology presents and are increasingly seeking to integrate it.

He stated:

It has become an everyday discussion from businesses, academia, medical industry, forensics, cybersecurity, and tourism. These industries and more are already adopting blockchain. Above all, the financial use case of blockchain has been on the rise in recent times, showing great growth especially in Africa.

The pilot phase in Ghana has helped shape ABI’s goals and outlook for its programs. Its next phase is in Rwanda where it’s going to set up the first blockchain school this year. So, why Rwanda?

Babarinde told us, “Since the Blockchain Institute is a Pan African project, we thought it well to set up the headquarters here, because Rwanda is gradually becoming the technology hub of Africa as many major tech businesses are now setting up here. The leadership of the country is very forward looking, and supportive of technology such as blockchain, in line with the Digital Transformation agenda. The country encourages innovation, thereby creating enabling environment for businesses to thrive. The ease of doing business is great, and the policies are very supporting.”

You can’t talk about blockchain adoption in African without diving into regulations. And while the narrative is that most African countries lack any definitive laws, Babarinde revealed that efforts are underway in most countries.

He remarked, “There are actually many regulatory frameworks in Africa, just that they are at the initial stage. African governments are seriously working towards progressive regulations, with support from the blockchain communities. But even before the regulations from the governments, blockchain communities are already doing well in joining forces to curb some of the irregularities in the space. I am very positive about the outcomes of these activities, including our work on research and development on blockchain regulations.”

ABI’s efforts will go a long way in imparting blockchain skills to entrepreneurs, students, regulators and the general public. Already, the institute is working closely with the Blockchain DLT Rwanda Association to recommend enabling regulations to the East African country.

Babarinde concluded, “The future of blockchain in Africa is bright. There is lot of work to be done, but the possibilities are endless.”

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