Blockchain technology is gaining a lot more interest in Ghana
The Blockchain technology, which is increasingly attracting the curiosity of startups, large corporations and governments, is also starting to gain interest in Ghana.
This came to light, when the Ashesi D: Lab, Blockchain Society Ghana, Kumasi Hive and Devless, delivered the Blockchain Hackathon 2018 program in Accra.
The programme, the first of its kind in Ghana, is in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and the Association of Ghana Industries.
The Blockchain Hackathon brought together some creative and inspiring teams from all over Ghana to design and pitch blockchain-inspired solutions for a supply chain platform that could motivate solution areas or even be adopted by the Ministry of Trade.
The platform solutions presented at the Hackathon illustrated how blockchain technology could be used to enable buyers (large scale contractors) to engage suppliers (sub-contractors and Small and Medium Enterprises) in exchange arrangements that ensured that the buyer’s needs were met while supplier’s capacity was also enabled.
The program affirmed the technology’s great potential for developing solutions to challenges facing the nation.
At the hackathon, creative teams from all over the country presented blockchain-inspired concept solutions on how the technology can be applied to address the challenges at different sections of the country’s supply chain system.
The teams presented solutions spanning smallholder suppliers and buyers; smart subcontracting management; and tracking systems for supply and production. For example, the AgriXchain team presented a smart contracting system that seeks to connect smallholder suppliers to buyers.
In another presentation, the Food and Drug Integrity Network (FADING) team, also illustrated how a blockchain system can be used to ensure food safety as well as tracking supply and production levels. The session also included a presentation from PlatformX from KNUST and Smerge, whose solutions focused on matchmaking and subcontracting management in the supply chain sector, respectively.
Commenting on the potential impact of the solutions after the event, Mr Paa Kow Bartels, the Lead for the Supplier Exchange platform at Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), who also provided the challenge for the hackathon, applauded the presentations and discussed the possible applications of the solutions concepts.
He also emphasized how these concepts may be adopted by MOTI.
Mr Bartels spoke of the likely favourable effect of such systems like PlatformX’s solution, which was focused on matching suppliers’ capacity to the requirement definitions of the buyers.
He explained that such a system could enhance and create a transparent system that could foster investor confidence in the Ghanaian economy
Consequently, Mr Bartels said, this has the capacity to set Ghana apart as one of the best destinations for trade and business. In the long run, “this will increase jobs and impact standard of living and government revenue positively” Mr Bartels explained.
Dr Adomdza, the Founding Lead for the Ashesi D: Lab, which led the organization of the hackathon, applauded the participants and assured them that the organizing coalition will continue to support the teams until they launched successful ventures or projects on their solutions.
He asked incubators and funding community to get behind the Blockchain technology and the solution concepts the participants came up with.
Mr Cecil Nutakor, co-founder of the Blockchain Society in Ghana, urged the government and policymakers to consider supporting the blockchain technology initiatives, especially those focused on the supply chain systems.
He explained that such technologies had the potential to improve transparency and strengthen the procurement processes in Ghana.
Mr Nutakor observed that currently, the blockchain technology had attracted massive attention both in the industry and in the academic sphere and said its application and potential had been lauded by paragon institutions like IBM and Maesrk.
He said IBM had for example developed blockchain systems that allowed it to digitize transaction workflow through a highly secured, shared and replicated ledger, adding that the company had emphasized the technology as one necessary for the optimization of supply and production processes.
Such testimonials may have contributed to Facebook’s decision to explore the use of the blockchain technology in their model, Mr Nutakor said.
He observed that in Africa, countries like Sierra Leone were leading the way in the application of blockchain, having recently adopted and adapted the technology in running their presidential and parliamentary elections.
Ghana, in the light of the Blockchain Hackathon 2018 program is hoping to explore the application of the technology in several different avenues, probably starting with the supply chain solutions, said Mr Nutakor.
He observed that the response from the developer community to the hackathon showed that the prospects were high for seeing more applications in the next few years in different spheres of life, such as ID verification for government and other services, secured trust systems for all kinds of transaction platforms, seamless and reliable payment transactions, among others.