by Lumai Mubanga
Part one of this series briefly touched on the benefits African in general can get by quickly adopting blockchain technology. Listed as one of the poorest continents, although immensely rich, the African continent, if well managed and harnesses can emerge as the power house for many sectors of the economies.
This article will explore two specific examples in health/birth records and education, areas that can set African countries ahead in the right direction if blockchain technology was adopted. Many of the cases sighted in this article have already or are in the process of passing the proof of concept stage. Although all countries are beneficiaries, Africa is singled out because of its unique position in as far development is concerned.
Birth and health records
There are millions of undocumented child births in rural Africa largely due to factors such as health facilities, qualified medical personnel, illiteracy levels and high levels corruption. This has resulted in governments inability to keep accurate data regarding the trends in their population increases as well as death rates. With poverty and malnutrition so high as reported in certain media outlets, it is equally difficult to know the mortality rates. This leaves statistical officers with only speculated figures at most when population censors are taken. The results have been obviously defective planning strategies and under performance of governmental systems.
How can blockchain technology rescue such dire situations? With improved infrastructure development especially in technology, Africa can turn around this challenge. From birth to demise, every birth record can be tapped, kept and tracked on the blockchain, giving accurate statistical data suitable for national development. Each individual will have his digital identity securely kept as an official registration from government that can be tracked in a digital format. With smart contracts well defined, the systems will automate when the national registration card, drivers license and voters card (manual or digital) can be provided based on national laws. THis remarkable technology will relieve alot of head aches in managing birth, death and other national certifications.
Degrees and Diplomas
Stories abound of uncertified universities and colleges as well as issued or forged certificates given to fake graduates. The results have been poor performance, half baked graduates, higher illiteracy levels and unemployment across the continent. Governments have found it increasingly difficult to curb the scourge. This is a problem of registration, from start to finish, from educational institutions to fire arms and land registrations. This has proved difficult to track using traditional technologies and the coming of blockchain gives a sigh of relief for something better. How so?
Every learning institution will have to be legally registered, certified and documented on the blockchain. This information will be made available to all local authorities who wish to access it. Its immutability makes it easy to track and verify. Students enrolled to any registered and verified university will have their details captured using their digital identities collected at their time of birth. Smart contract will be used to verify their age and family trees if possible. Next, upon graduation, smart contracts will be used to provide digital degrees and diplomas based on course duration that can also be made available in hard copy. In this way, blockchain will make it easier to provide authentic graduates and certifications to the citizenry.
Indeed, Africa as a continent has potential to come out of its doldrums of economic stagnation with the coming of the blockchain and its predecessor, the internet. Is the continent getting ready for this transformation?