Chain Reaction

Standard Bank: Blockchain can add impetus to Africa’s free-trade drive

By David Whitehouse

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Posted on June 27, 2022 04:00

A delegate talks on his phone at the Delta Summit, Malta’s official Blockchain and Digital Innovation event promoting cryptocurrency, in Ta’ Qali © REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

African free trade can be a beneficiary of Blockchain as applications mature beyond crypto currencies, Ian Putter, head of blockchain for Africa at Standard Bank, tells The Africa Report.

Putter says Moroccan fertilizer group OCP has shown that Blockchain can be used to eliminate documentation and accelerate dispute resolution. OCP in 2021 became the first African company to execute an intra-African trade transaction using Blockchain, delivering phosphate fertilisers from Morocco to Ethiopia.

Smaller companies can also benefit in “a transparent environment lowering buffers to entry,” Putter says in Johannesburg.  “The transparent ledger will highlight where the bottlenecks are not only in fertilizers, but for soft commodities and ultimately will track produce through every step of its transformation.”

Blockchains work as decentralized ledgers which record digital transactions in the absence of any central administrator. Transactions are immutable and visible to anyone within the network. Blockchains can be used to support crypto-currencies, but also for other purposes.

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