During the annual Digital Africa conference on Wednesday, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Issa Bantami called blockchain part of the government’s focus on new technologies, according to the Voice of Nigeria report.
Bantami highlighted the theme of the conference – “Building a New Africa with Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain” – on which the government is working to create innovation centers.
These innovation centers will explore capacity building protocols for artificial intelligence, IoT, robotics, cloud computing and blockchain technology, among other areas, Antami said.
As part of the speech, the Minister of Communications said that the initiative is part of the work to promote an innovative culture in Nigeria and added:
“We are also actively preparing to harness blockchain technology for our digital economy and have recently developed a National Blockchain Implementation Strategy.”
Back in October 2020, Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) released a draft blockchain strategy concept. The document included a six-point agenda on the use of new technologies, including national digital identity and regulatory sandboxes for experimental applications.
During the conference, NITDA CEO Kashifu Inwa stated that Nigeria could be the engine for the growth of AI and blockchain in Africa. In November 2020, Inuwa indicated that the country could generate up to $ 10 billion in blockchain revenue by 2030.
The Bantami ministry has spearheaded the country’s mandatory national identification program, a move that has sparked serious controversy over the mandatory linking of phone numbers to national identification data.
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When considering issues of confidentiality and data security, the minister’s address did not mention the possible implementation of blockchain in a secure repository of national identity data.
Last February, Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo announced that cryptocurrency and blockchain would refresh Nigeria’s economic landscape. The vice president’s comments follow a central bank ban that prevents financial institutions from exchanging cryptocurrencies.