From the unbanked to the unfed, blockchain has the ability to improve the quality of life of people globally through distributed ledge technology. When observing the issue of cross-border banking or payments in Africa, many countries struggle to provide their citizens with a commercial banking system. Bank branches are usually only located in major cities. The commute, adds to the expense for people living in more rural parts of countries like Mali and Rwanda. While supply-chain management also benefits tremendously from the blockchain framework to ensure a record of where the product has been to ensure the end user is safe when making the purchase. The potential for blockchain to improve the quality of life across developed and developing countries inevitably reduce abuses to human rights as demonstrated in cross-border banking and supply chain management.
Africa: Cross-border Banking
Blockchain technology has been a great success in Africa as it has been very dangerous to move money across the continent. Many who work in South Africa struggled to send money to family in different countries such as Zambia or Cameroon. Human trust was a central factor, giving money to someone traveling back to that country. The service charge taken when depending on a Western Union or commercial bank can be very expensive. With blockchain integrated, the decentralized nature reduces costs while increases the transactions speed, security, and privacy.
Costly remittance fee will also be brought down from the high 20% at present. Standard Bank is already making efforts to support start-up and tech initiatives to provide mobile payments solutions, bring the continent out from economic desolation. Snapscan has also created the first prepaid virtual cards ecosystem, operating numerous other digital innovations in South Africa. Findex data shows that sub-Saharan Africa is home to all eight economies where 20% or more of adults use only a mobile money account; Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
Distributors have been exploiting the labor of those in the fisheries industry for a long time. With blockchain integration, human trafficking of workers and illegal fishing can be reduced significantly. These food distributors have worked with companies such as Costco, Tesco, Walmart, and Aldi. A company focusing on the seafood industry is UK-based Provenance.
The supply chain application can also be enforced in the egg farming industry. In the United States, lawsuits have been enforced against human traffickers have brought over young undocumented Latin American children to work in industrial facilities under dangerous working conditions susceptible to disease and death consider the exposure to life-threatened equipment. With the transparency of blockchain, efforts to underpay and exploit workers can easily be tracked and brought to an end.
To ensure there are no cases similar to mad cow disease infecting those who unknowing ingest the food, companies such as Carrefour work to trace the product to ensure there are no outbreaks able to reach customers. One success story occurred in April 2018, was when nearly 207 million eggs from a North Carolina farm were recalled for salmonella food poisoning cases infecting customers in the European Union. The integrate the Food Trust blockchain software it is a small cost of $212,000 for businesses to ensure millions of dollars in products and human lives are not put on the line.
Furthermore, the efficiency, privacy, and cost-effectiveness provided with blockchain framework integration benefits of humanity. In developing countries across Africa and Asia Pacific, cross-border banking will become less expensive and time-consuming to encourage commerce and improved relations among regional states. While supply-chain improvements will ensure products are safe for consumers and those employed in the space are not subject to trafficking and other forms of abuse.
Written by Shermineh Salieh Esmati
As the CEO and founder of Cyrus BC Inc. Shermineh provides advisory services to promote the interests of her clients through the application of innovative products. One focus of Cyrus BC is to bring deliverable blockchain initiatives to the attention of investors focused on the security and socio-economic benefits of the technology.
With a background in foreign policy and intelligence analysis, Shermineh has been using her grasp of geopolitics to aid blockchain companies to best pursue growth while respecting international cryptocurrency regulations and blockchain policy. To ensure the expedited adoption of fintech products she is working with Blockchain Intelligence Group, New Economies DLT and building collaborative efforts for AI blockchain projects soon to be announced.
Shermineh has experience advising intelligence agencies, political leaders, management consultancies and human rights organizations. In the pursuit of developing an expertise in international security, Shermineh obtained her bachelor’s degree with a Specialist in Political Science at the University of Toronto and is completing her master’s degree in Government at Harvard University. To further Canada’s efforts in emerging technology she is also a member of the Blockchain Association of Canada and an Advisor to the Open Source Data Committee at the Treasury Board Secretariat in Ottawa, Canada.