Blockchain, as an emerging technology, is proving that its breadth and scope offers many significant new approaches to a range of societal, economic, technological, ecological, and commercial problems, particularly in emergent economies.
Failing economies and developing countries, many of which are located on the African continent where poverty is rife, such as Congo, Zimbabwe and Eritrea, are just a handful of African countries listed among the world’s poorest nations. Private companies and NGOs are finding that increasingly new technologies can be utilized to provide solutions to problems that have often added to these struggling economies.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, devastated by a protracted war which has caused the death of 5.4 million people, is listed as the world’s poorest nation. A project is set to be launched this year using blockchain in order to provide manufacturers of devices such as iPhones the guarantee that cobalt in their Lithium-ion batteries has not been mined by children. The tracking of cobalt in the Congo is an enormous problem due to numerous informal mine sites and many of them being worked by children.
Amnesty International researcher Mark Dummett said, “You have to be wary of technological solutions to problems that are also political and economic, but blockchain may help. We’re not against it.”
Congo holds half of the world’s cobalt reserves and demand for the main mineral component of lithium-ion batteries is set to surge as electric cars proliferate. In 2016, Congo mined 54% of the 123,000 tons of cobalt produced worldwide, according to Reuters. Also, automaker Volkswagen is trying to secure long-term cobalt supplies to sustain their own electric car production, but need verification that no child labor has been involved in the production.
Companies are now looking to blockchain solutions for such problems as pressure grows to demonstrate a supply chain free of rights abuses to both consumers and investors.
Venezuela, suffering from crippling hyperinflation, is turning to Bitcoin and various other ways of tapping into cryptocurrencies in order to provide life’s simple necessities for many citizens of that country, as Bitcoin News has reported. Also, Haiti with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of USD 810 at the last census, began looking at blockchain in 2017. The government suggested then that blockchain tech could be used to register and record property transactions, government-licensed assets, intellectual property and voting.
According to Crypto Daily, Paul Domjan, global head of research, analytics and data at investment bank Exotix, sees emerging nations as the greatest beneficiaries of new technology, particularly in the area of ownership recording, arguing:
“…frontier markets in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia lag far behind, with average performance less than half that of the best performing economies.”
Hade Platform has identified what they see as the main areas that blockchain technology will impact developing countries in the future such as: easing the provision of government services, land tenure documentation and processing, provision of identity services, enhancing the freedom of speech and participation in anti-corruption activities.
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