International tech firm SAP is set to increase its Blockchain commitment as the main sponsor of the 2017 Blockchain Africa conference in Johannesburg.
Also read: Russia, South Africa Join to Develop Blockchain Tech
SAP: Blockchain Africa ‘Great for Rethinking Business’
Blockchain Africa, now in its third year, seeks to highlight the potential Blockchain technology holds for African business.
According to the official website, next year’s event “will bring together a diverse range of experts who will discuss all the opportunities, challenges and exciting possibilities in innovation and disruption that can be leveraged in Africa using this technology.”
“Blockchain is a great way to get [businesses] to rethink and reimagine how a business or industry operates. This means we need to think broadly about change,” SAP Africa Industry Head for Financial Services Darrel Orsmond said in a statement.
The conference comes amid a mixed landscape for disruptive fintech on the African continent.
Africa’s Split Fintech Personality
While countries such as Kenya push ahead with innovative Blockchain-based consumer solutions, regulatory hurdles and bad actors are causing friction and limiting the appeal of virtual currency in particular in some nations.
Most recently, the return of decades-old Russian ponzi scheme MMM Global is suspected to have caused spikes in Bitcoin trading in both Kenya and Nigeria. The scheme requires consumers to ‘buy in’ using Bitcoin, with many still unaware of the scheme’s flaws despite its long history of deception.
Nonetheless, SAP’s further exploration of the nascent Blockchain scene is no coincidence. The company earlier this year sent the world’s first international interbank Blockchain payment in a joint partnership with Ripple and Canadian bank ATB Financial.
In October, SAP’s African arm launched a so-called “co-innovation lab” in Johannesburg with the aim of fostering digital advancements across Africa.
“Africa is a significant source of innovation with global relevance,” co-organizer Tanja Rueckert said in the press release at the time.
She added that SAP was “committed to provide the Digital Platform, leveraging IoT, Big Data, a Digital Core, Cloud Computing and Business Networks to enable capabilities relevant to growth in Africa.”
BTC Foundation and Banks Rub Shoulders
The conference next March meanwhile is also set to include keynotes from Bitcoin Foundation Executive Director Llew Claasen, himself a South African native, as well as Farzam Ehsani, leader of South African Rand Merchant Bank’s (RMB) Blockchain initiative.
Ehsani previously stated that Blockchain tech “calls institutions to a new paradigm.” RMB’s Blockchain arm went one further, however, suggesting that Blockchain could take up to 40% of banking revenue if it were to become mainstream.
What do you think about the direction Blockchain business is heading in Africa? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Bitcoin.com, Shutterstock, and the 2017 Blockchain Africa conference
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