The Increasing Popularity of Blockchain Technology in Uganda Reigns Supreme in Africa
Not many would associate Uganda with being a frontier in adopting the technology. However, the East African country is fast becoming a leading blockchain hub. According to the 2018 Global Innovation Index, Uganda is Africa’s 10th country in terms of blockchain adoption. Globally, it is ranked at number 103.
Recently, Johannesburg-based Carico Café Connoisseur began using blockchain technology to streamline its operations, particularly the coffee supply chain. Incidentally, the company sources the majority of its coffee from Uganda.
Besides coffee, another application of blockchain technology that is flourishing in the Ugandan market is the Binance cryptocurrency exchange. Indeed, the trading platform confirmed in June 2018 that it would launch Binance Uganda. This promise was fulfilled in October, with the Ugandan chapter becoming the first Binance exchange in the world to offer support for fiat-crypto trading pairs.
Barely a week after its introduction, Binance Uganda has attracted over 40,000 users. The main factor behind the popularity of cryptocurrencies in the country is the lack of access to conventional banking services. Apparently, only a measly 17% of Ugandans are banked. This is significantly lower than the banked population in neighboring Kenya, where 70% of citizens have access to some form of banking.
The Gospel Of Bitcoin
Cryptocurrency hobbyists in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, have started an awareness campaign called ‘the gospel of Bitcoin.’ Robert Bagarogo, one of the group's members, admits that he has made more in a year of crypto trading than he did in his decade-long career as a university lecturer. He intends to share his knowledge with willing individuals.
To put things into perspective, Robert could hardly afford his children's fees and upkeep while working at the university. After venturing into crypto trading, he can now pay for a holiday in overseas destinations such as Dubai. With unemployment rates on the rise, Robert expects more people to follow his path.
A Youthful Country
In most cases, it is the youth who are always first to embrace new technology. As of now, 55% of Uganda’s population is below 18 years old, a figure that is only betted by Niger. This explains the rapidly increasing popularity of blockchain and digital currencies in the nation.
Prince Kudra Kalema of the Buganda Kingdom believes that his county’s youthful population makes it a prime location for the adoption of cryptos and blockchain technology. He noted that 80% of Ugandans are below 35, educated and most importantly, willing to learn and adopt technologies that could significantly improve their lives.
Another factor that could favor the mass adoption of cryptos in Uganda is the open-minded stance taken by the government. In other countries, such as Zimbabwe, the administration has taken a hostile approach against cryptos and blockchain.
Last year, the Minister of Finance told the national assembly of their plans to regulate the Ugandan crypto space. This was in response to the concerns over the increasing number of fraudulent schemes masquerading as profitable cryptocurrency businesses. The minister, however, advised Ugandans to exercise care before investing in any cryptocurrency trading project.