The 21st century has left the world grasping for everything innovation with the latest being cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology.
The beginning of 2021 saw a lot of reportages on the adaptation of E-currency through the digitalization initiative by the Vice President, Dr. Bawumia, which is also a blockchain technology initiative.
The Bank of Ghana(BOG) on February 25,2021 launched a regulatory and innovation sandbox pilot in collaboration with EMTECH Service LLC in line with it’s commitment to give an enabling and inclusive regulatory environment that promotes Fintechs and Support innovation.
In 2020, BOG indicated in a press released its interest in the blockchain technology and their plans to collaborate with Ghana Stock Exchange to pilot a program for easy payment systems and have domestic platforms for forex enthusiasts to attract foreign investments as Africa is being eyed by investors in that perspective.
Companies such as Geldex Invest, a giant in the Fintech, Digital Finance and FOREX industry Globally now has its African headquarters in Accra, a clear indication of how digitalization of an economy goes a long way to attract foreign investment.
Blockchain is a latest technology which is a series of interconnected blocks that store data digitally. The type of blockchain is determined by the data that is contained within the blockchain.
Cryptography (Unique Code or Password) is used to connect these blocks, thus given a uniqueness to every block and they are linked together infinitely. To delete a block is to decode the hash of all previous blocks making it nearly impossible hence data stays indefinitely.
Whiles Blockchain is currently used for recording and storing transactions for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and e-currencies, there are enormous use for this technology in the area of policy making and the general governance of all sectors of an economy.
Ghana is faced with challenges across the sectors of the economy which the early adaptation and use of the blockchain technology can tackle and save the economy from misery.
As a Medical Researcher, a financial market expert and having worked as a Medical laboratory Scientist, the menace of poor medical record keeping/loss of patient folders is almost the order of the day in our health facilities. The frequency of loss is so much due to manual handling and poor record keeping practices by health workers.
The blockchain technology, if adopted, can be used to store electronic medical records securely over private blocks that can only be accessed by authorized persons thus eradicating record loss especially in transferring of patients from one facility to the next and all patient record difficulties.
Land Registration, another huge component of the economy that can benefit greatly from blockchain technology. The country has had its fair share of land litigations, falsification of land documents, and landguard shenanigans. These unscrupulous activities can be brought to a halt if a unique block is designated to each acquisition. This will remove issues of multiple sales with unique identifier which can not be duplicated.
Our Educational credentialing stands to benefit immensely from the blockchain technology as there have been countless cases of document forgery in recruitments and grade change, leackage of examination papers etc that WAEC and associated institutions continue to face. These problems have lingered without solution and the adaptation of the blockchain technology can be used to curb forever.
Last but not least, the sensitive issues of corruption with the public sector, lack of trace of funds, embezzlement, tax exemptions, ghost name, misuse and misappropriation of tax payers moneys by public servants will be fully accounted for and culprits properly dealt with if blockchain technology is used. Ledgers are stored as blocks and can not be deleted or duplicated hence funds and every transaction can be monitored and traced ensuring accountability of public fund.
The conservative and primitive nature get us lagging on most of the great innovations as a country.
Change and the fear of the unknown due to our unpreparedness always work against us.
The digitalization initiative by the Vice President is a great step, and hopefully, the blockchain technology adaptation, implementation and use becomes rigorous and enhanced into all sectors of the economy for the betterment of Ghana sooner than later.
Writer: David Benin
Profile: Financial Market Trader and Medical Research Scientist, Masters of Medicine student at Memorial University, Canada.
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