Uganda to Host Africa Blockchain Conference, Focus on Technology-Led Transformation

The PS Ministry of ICT, Vincent Bagiire (C), Kwame Rugunda (R) and Pius Okullo (L) briefing the press on Thursday

Uganda will later this month host the Africa Blockchain Conference expected to bring together policy makers, leaders in industry, academia, youth, entrepreneurs and blockchain enthusiasts.

The conference will take place at Kampala Serena Hotel on May 23 and 24 under the theme “The role of Blockchain Technology in Africa’s transformation”.

Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger platform that allows creation and management of decentralized systems and processes, which enhance efficiency and transparency of transactions across institutional or business operations.

Blockchain Technology, also described as the ‘technology of trust’ is disrupting and redefining traditional governance and business models across the world from the way information is created, managed and shared to the way products and services are delivered.

While addressing journalists, the Chairman of the Blockchain Association of Uganda, Kwame Rugunda, said he concurs with the recent remarks made by President Yoweri Museveni regarding the need to change Africa’s lag in innovation.

During the World Customs Organization Conference in March 2018, President Museveni told delegates that Africa had largely missed out on the industrial revolution, with the exception of the Iron Age and stressed that Africa was now entering the digital revolution and that “Africa will not miss out again!”

While reiterating these same remarks, Kwame Rugunda, explained that Africa is at the right time to adopt this technology.

“We have already seen glimpses into how it is disrupting traditional models in areas such as finance, procurement, insurance, health, identity management, contracts, governance, to mention but a few. Now is the right time to engage with this novel technology, because each wave of technology presents profound opportunity, particularly for the early adopters,” he said.

The Africa Blockchain Conference is aimed at spurring engagement from both the public and private sectors, by sharing understanding as to how it can be adopted and the impact.

“The conference will focus on how we can build a blockchain eco-system and position ourselves to be part of global discussions. “Some of the immediate benefits of using blockchain include enhanced efficiencies with greater transparency and accountability in our business and governance systems which are key factors in enabling Uganda become an investment destination, and catapulting our economic growth,” Rugunda noted.

According to Stanbic’s Application and Integration Support Manager, Pius Okullo, Blockchain technology offers lots of benefits to the overall development and transformation of Africa and more importantly Uganda. At a very high level it will play a large role in improving operational efficiency both in the private and the public sector.

“The decentralized nature of blockchain technology offers a very robust and secure platform designed from the foundation up with transaction protection (confidentiality of transaction details) as a priority. This is the core of digital transformation happening globally.” said Okullo.

He said the technology creates an opportunity for every business, government and individuals, however to reap these, it is imperative that we all accept and embrace the technology.

The conference offers a perfect opportunity for knowledge share, and discussions around creating the ecosystem.

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Vincent Bagiire affirmed that the government is keen about embracing technology innovations.

“We are actively engaged in the discussions on blockchain and have collaborated with different stakeholders to ensure we have the right information to advance our agenda as government,” he noted.

He added that the government recognizes the growing trends in the technology sector and is positioning itself to be at the forefront so as to take advantage of these opportunities.

The Africa Blockchain Conference will showcase different but relevant use cases in different sectors to demonstrate the value and importance of blockchain technology. The conference will feature key global blockchain stakeholders who will be building a case for the adoption of blockchain technology in Uganda and in Africa.

Speakers and panelists will come from the host country Uganda, as well as Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, Europe, the United States and Asia.

The topics of discussion will include governance, regulation and policy, crypto currencies and digital assets, cyber security, innovation and technology, risk and investment opportunities among others.

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