Posted 1 year ago | by Ben Armstrong
Mpho Dagada – Blockchain Could Help South African Economy
Mpho Dagada, a Member of the South African Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution(4IR), claimed he believes applying blockchain technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) could help to reduce unemployment in the country.
“We face two significant challenges in the country: reducing unemployment and increasing our Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said. “[The] Fourth Industrial Revolution policy creation can create economic growth in the country.”
According to Dagada, South Africa’s mining sector could benefit from using blockchain technology, and partnering it with AI:
“The South African economy has natural resources, a mature financial services sector and is an economic and political powerhouse. If the strength of Africa is in minerals, the world is looking at better ways of tracking data in that space.”
Dagada Sees Transparency as Key
There has always been graft in the mining industry, and many companies now require that minerals and metals have chain-of-custody documentation. In fact, conflict minerals, or other materials that are produced under conditions that aren't legal in advanced nations are actually prohibited in many Western nations.
Dagada thinks that blockchain could make mining more transparent:
“When we look at where the world is going, it’s important to leverage our strengths and align with that. If the world is moving towards more blockchain systems that are transparent and people want that, we know there is strength in Africa’s minerals and why not plug that in on top of the sector? We might find that we’ll solve the problems we have, like corruption or bringing access to markets. These problems could be solved by us bringing in these solutions and allowing them to plug and play.”
Of course, blockchain can't make African supply chains free from corruption. The levels of graft in African mining are substantial, and any system that attempts to create actual transparency will hit a wall of interested parties who don't want to see their free money dry up.
South Africa Could Boost Token Use
While making African supply chains more honest is probably a tall order, the future for cryptos in South Africa is bright. According to Dagada, the South African government supports using cryptocurrencies, assuming the rules are followed.
“The outlook from the country is that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are a good thing and are more than welcome. What is frowned upon is people misusing them, for example, someone evading tax, leaving the country and taking all their Bitcoin with them? But the use, creation, and interaction within the confines of the law are more than welcomed by the government.”
South Africa is rich by African standards, but it is a very poor nation that has a massive gap between the rich and poor. One of the biggest areas that could be helped by cryptos is small scale financial services, as most African nations have massive amounts of unbanked citizens.
The real issue emerges from the lack of financial freedom that most people in South Africa have, as the government insists on regulating the banking system to a level that makes it all but useless for the poorest people in the nation.