African Blockchain Conference 2018 launched in Uganda

On 23rd and 24th May, the Blockchain Association of Uganda with support from the Government of Uganda will host the Africa Blockchain Conference at the Kampala Serena Hotel. The conference, which will be held under the theme “The role of Blockchain Technology in Africa’s transformation” is scheduled to host policymakers, leaders in Industry, academia, youth, entrepreneurs and blockchain enthusiasts.

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 the journalists at the Association offices at the Nakawa Business Park,
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. While addressing delegates at 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
a 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.

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.”

In attendance was also Stanbic Bank IT Manager Pius Okullo, who emphasized the need
for banks to adopt the growing form of technology that is Blockchain. Stanbic Bank is
also a partner of the upcoming African Blockchain Conference. In his remarks, Mr
Okullo noted; “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”
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.

Steven Kirenga the Marketing and Communications Manager, National Information
Technology Authority further confirmed as a partner of the conference. In his remarks, Mr
Kirenga briefly explained what their role will be and what they bring to the table. “ 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 panellists will come from the host country Uganda, as well
as Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, Europe, the United States and Asia. The topics of
the discussion will include governance, regulation and policy, cryptocurrencies and digital
assets, cybersecurity, innovation and technology, risk and investment opportunities
among others.