By Najib Mulema

Blockchain Association of Uganda has confirmed that President Yoweri Museveni and former president of Mauritius Ameenah Gurib-Fakim will grace the Africa Blockchain Conference which will take place at Kampala Serena Hotel on 23rd and 24th May, 2018.

The conference, which will be held under the theme “The role of Blockchain Technology in Africa’s transformation”, is expected to host policy makers, leaders in Industry, academia, youth, entrepreneurs and blockchain enthusiasts.

While addressing the journalists at the Association offices at the Nakawa Business Park on Tuesday, the Chairman of the Blockchain Association of Uganda, Kwame Rugunda, said the 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” he noted.

He also revealed that the pitch competition contenders will be presented and voted on by the judges at the event.

According to Rugunda, the competition which is sponsored by Binance is a platform for enterprising individuals to showcase ideas that will solve pertinent national problems.

Recently President Museveni told delegates at the World Customs Organization Conference 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!”

Concurring with the president’s remarks, Mr. 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.

At the same event, the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance Permanent Secretary Mr. 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.”

On the other hand, Stanbic Bank IT Manager Pius Okullo emphasized the need for banks to adopt Blockchain.

“It is a fast growing form of technology and we are glad to be part of the conference. There has been a great form of adoption and we would love to re-echo is bitcoin only is not Blockchain, the technology is a whole lot bigger and interesting,” he said.

Steven Kirenga the Marketing and Communications Manager, National Information Technology Authority (NITA) briefly explained what their role will be and what they bring to the table during the conference.

“We are very grateful to partner with the Blockchain Association of Uganda and looking forward to integrating the Blockchain technology that many don’t understand. We hope when the conference is done, many will understand what Blockchain really is.”

The conference speakers and panelists will come from Uganda,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.

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.