Tanzanian Government Signals Blockchain Interest
The Tanzanian government has allegedly set its eyes on blockchain development, with officials announcing they will be actively conducting research to gather more information on the nascent technology. The goal of the study is to help determine what, if any, benefits blockchain may provide to the developing African country.
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Tanzania to Take a Cautious Approach to Blockchain Tech
Although information and communications technology (ICT) experts see blockchain as a promising means of helping Tanzania realize its digital economy agenda, the government wants more time to feel out the situation before making any decisions. This is according to South African news outlet, The Citizen.
The country’s Deputy Permanent Secretary Minister for Works, Transport, and Communications, Dr. Jim Yonazi, spoke to a conference of ICT professionals about the matter in the capital city of Dar es Salaam.
During Yonazi’s speech he told those in attendance that the people of Tanzania were still largely unfamiliar with distributed ledger technology (DLT) and it needed to be studied further before the central government made any adoption plans.
Focusing on safety concerns, he went on to say that a deeper look into blockchain tech could help legislators craft “favorable laws” that would work to minimize risks to both the citizens of Tanzania and the integrity of their government as a whole.
Making the Transition: Creating a Mature Digital Economy
Despite a somewhat cautious approach taken by Dr. Yonazi, others, such as Anthony Kigombola who teaches ICT at the University of Dar es Salaam, thinks blockchain tech could provide a multitude of benefits to the country.
In his view, however, the digital economy of Tanzania is still in its infancy and has a lot maturing left to do if DLT is to have any meaningful impact on people’s lives. In essence, the digital economy needs to be made a formal part of the nation’s economy.
Kigombola elucidated just this when interviewed by The Citizen, saying:
“The Tanzanian digital ecosystem is still at its infancy and most of its economic activities are still informal … Formalization of the activities needs such digital products as business software, communication platforms, affordable financial services affordable logistics and marketplaces which are easily accessible in the Blockchain platforms.”
Tanzania’s Prior History With Blockchain
In addition to the government’s current interest in conducting research, Tanzania has also had other odd encounters with blockchain tech–including hosting the first ever baby “born” on the blockchain.
The project was conducted as part of a collaboration between Irish AID:Tech and Dutch PharmAccess in order to celebrate the women’s aid project in Tanzania, which is itself a humanitarian effort to help women and girls at risk of violence in the country.
IBM has already taken small blockchain steps in the continent, working in Kenya with a food supply chain project. The Tanzanian government could possibly further the push of blockchain into Africa.
What do you think of the Tanzanian government announcing its intent to study blockchain technology? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via Plan My Gap Year, Dailynews, University of Dar es Salaam