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A Kenyan task team has called for the country’s government to invest in blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure and skills — and to regulate the two technologies.
It follows the release of a report (opens as a PDF) last month by Kenya’s Distributed Ledgers Technology and Artificial Intelligence Taskforce.
Kenya’s Business Daily reported in an article on Wednesday (31 July) that the taskforce last week presented the report to ICT cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru.
Effective regulation of the technologies, the taskforce said in the report, will both balance citizen protection and private sector innovation.
The AI and blockchain task team last week presented the report to Kenya’s ICT cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru
The task team has recommended that the government introduce a digital fiat currency and spearhead the development of solutions like blockchain-powered land registries, to fight corruption.
Among several other recommendations, the task team called for the government to:
- Help draft a digital asset framework that will enable Kenyan citizens to raise funds through initial coin offerings (ICOs).
- Create a digital locker (complementing a digital ID) for every citizen to securely store official documents like credit reports and birth certificates.
- Use blockchain to track agricultural produce from end-to-end (from seeds to marketplace) and to use AI and analytics to detect fraud, trace unsafe products
- Distribute farming subsidies through a blockchain controlled agri-token
- Introduce blockchain technology to enable customers to trace the supply chain of medication
- Develop a health token incentive to reward citizens who maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Use blockchain supply-chain networks to flag and report counterfeit goods.
The task team was set up last year by Kenya’s ICT ministry and is led by academic and former ICT permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo.
Its 14 members are comprised of experts who work for companies like Safaricom, Cisco, IBM Research Africa, the African Development Bank as well as tech entrepreneurs and consultants.
In talks with financial firms on AI
Responding to Ventureburn questions yesterday (1 August), Ndemo said the taskforce plans to now educate the public on investment opportunities that will arise from the report.
The team, he added, is already talking to small groups on how to leverage blockchain to streamline value chains in the agricultural sector.
“We are talking to financial institutions on how to leverage AI in the back end to minimise fraud and the use of big data in understanding their future customers.
“We shall also talk to startups to develop new insurance products such as parametric insurance. The list is long, as we start in earnest to show the way forward into the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he said.
Ndemo also said the task team has started to develop legal sandboxes where new ideas will be incubated in collaboration with regulators.
“The government has finished capturing biometric data to be used to build a trusted identity that is critical to the success of emerging solutions,” he explained.
Featured image: Screenshot of the cover of the Distributed Ledgers Technology and Artificial Intelligence Taskforce’s Emerging Digital Technologies for Kenya: Exploration & Analysis report