WHY I THINK EOS WILL TRANSFORM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
By Felix Macharia
On June 10th 2018 at 1600 hours Kenyan time, I sat behind my laptop in my apartment in Nairobi. I watched as people from all the continents of the world ushered the beginning of a new era. The energy and anxiety was palpable. One thing being certain: We all believed EOS would change the world. Over the next few hours, votes started streaming in. At 5.5% of the votes currently cast (at the time of my writing), it is clear that our friends from Korea, China, Europe and the American Continent are top contenders to becoming the custodians of this great technology. Oh yeah! and the exchanges too.
I am sure many of my readers will expect a pitch about why EOS Nairobi should be elected as a block producer candidate. Am sorry guys, we’ll not have any of that. Do I still believe Africa should have a block producer candidate? Definitely and we have worked months to make this a reality. But i think i would be doing a great disservice to the continent if i turned this into a campaign pitch instead of talking about what’s even more important: How EOS will transform the African continent.
Whichever way this goes. Whatever communities (or exchanges) are elected to become custodians of this transformative technology, you will have the responsibility to deliver on the promises of EOS: To protect life, liberty and property on the African continent and in the world.
We celebrate and support blockchain technology in Africa. I personally believe this technology was created for Africa. This technology will become, in the next few years, the greatest enabler of financial inclusion. I place my bet on EOS, the ethos for it’s creation is just right.
One of the greatest challenges on my continent is the issue of property rights. Most countries in Sub-saharan Africa have enacted laws to enable the ownership and control of land. However, the implementation and execution of these rights is poor, to say the least. Only about 13% of Africa’s indigenous and local communities have rights to the land they are on. There is so much potential on this continent that is underutilized simply because we can’t get citizens to own land.
EOS may be a software project for some, but for my continent it provides a tool to ensure that the corruption and manipulation often seen in land records comes to an end. With this tool, African governments, civil society groups and citizens will have a transparent, immutable and open record.
As simple as it may sound, land registries of this nature, built on blockchain will allow people for the first time to own and develop the land they are on. If you doubt this assertion, I would challenge you to see Nobel Prize winning economist Hernando de Soto’s transformative work in the Peruvian economy by promoting land rights.
I am a strong proponent and believer in Africa not needing any aid. It is a noble venture, no doubt, but it makes the continent heavily dependent and underutilized. How do you explain, for example, how Kenya gets 300 million dollars in food aid but exports a whooping 3 billion dollars worth of food to Europe and other continent ? One word: Intermediaries. The NGO and Aid industry has become a business. By showing those poor African kids starving to death, middlemen eat up the largest chunk of our charities and leave local communities dependent on bread crumbs.
Local Community Currencies
A better solution would be to build local community currencies as one William Ruddick has been doing among Kenya’s poorest communities (I applaud you Will!). Local Community Currencies (LCCs) allow even the poorest people to exchange and trade. The value is in the person, not the piece of paper currency. As long as individuals can work for others and contribute to societal good, that is value. Value that can be exchanged albeit locally. Will’s work in Kenya’s Bangladesh slum and others around the country has enabled starving families to eat, the disadvantaged to build businesses and get access to credit and whole societies to change.
We can build Local currencies such as Banglapesa on an immutable, transparent and open blockchain like EOS. With EOS’ interoperability features, local communities in one part of the country can trade and exchange value with communities in another part of the country. We essentially open up commerce for Africa’s poorest, all with the use of a feature phone.
Look for example at how mobile money, simple digital wallets that allow users to send money to each other, have opened up commerce on the continent. Today in Kenya, there is an MPesa agent in almost every village and around every street corner (93% of Kenya’s adult population is registered on Mpesa). These MPesa merchants allow users to deposit cash amounts, send digital funds and withdraw cash amounts if they need them. Commerce has become more swift, remittances to local communities from cities and outside the country have ballooned and accounting for small businesses is now a possibility. Savings and credit is now possible for individuals who were locked out of traditional banking ecosystems.
Today, disadvantaged families in the villages can get loans of between $1 to $235 for a 30 day term.This is based on their transactional history as to how much they can afford. Now remove the middleman and imagine a digital wallet built on EOS. First, EOS has a transactional input with a TPS that is only expected to grow as we learn more and support this ecosystem. So no problem, we can run as many transactions as Mobile money operators are running now. Second, EOS has no transaction fees. Africa’s families will not have to be charged high transaction fees on their money transfers and withdrawals. This will further enable commerce and the exchange of value needed for Africa to become an economic powerhouse.
I have to stop writing otherwise this would end up being a book, and not an article. When I think of the potential applications of EOS on my continent am encouraged to continue rooting for this technology. The good thing is, I am not the only one thinking. As the community operations manager for EOS Nairobi, i have had the pleasure and opportunity of working with the brightest young African minds. Watch out for these guys folks! They will transform Africa.
Success for EOS is success for us all. Let’s VOTE. Let’s get to 15 %. Let us launch the next decade of transformative, life changing technology. Go EOS!