North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and Oceania are on the run to adopting Cryptocurrencies. However, conspicuously missing on the list is the second most populated continent on earth with 1.2 billion people, Africa. This is raising concerns in some quarters that the region may be left behind in reaping from yet another global technology after missing out on the renaissance, industrial revolution, and the most recent age of the internet.
This concern has prompted an investigation and it has emerged that African governments and the traditional banking industry are to blame for the negligible Cryptocurrency adoption. In regards to governments, they have strict policies that are very rigid and dismissive of Cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, banks are yet to leverage on the advantages of Cryptos for many reasons such as lack of maturity or even out of fear of competition and the unknown.
40% Of Africans Are Interested In Cryptos
Research shows that 40% of Africans are interested in Cryptocurrencies. Considering that the median age is 19 years in the vast continent and much lower in certain areas, this shows that more than half of Africans in the economically active age of 15-65 years wish to own Cryptos.
However, the financial structure in Africa, that needs to be dynamic to accommodate Digital Tokens, is rigid and dominated by banks and governments. The two institutions wield immense social and industrial power that tends to work against the adoption of Cryptocurrencies.
Exploring Traditional Banks’ Role In Africa
The conventional model of banking in Africa is the oldest of its kind and unique. This is because it is largely designed for the needs of Africans which are very different. However, Cryptocurrencies offer a better and more efficient banking solution for Africans. If fully adopted, banks may be edged out and it is a no brainer that the institutions are fighting Digital Tokens with zeal and not exploring the opportunities of digitalization.
There are illustrations that demonstrate that in countries such as Nigeria where traditional banks are widely established Crypto adoption is very low. For example, Bayelsa and Rivers States in Nigeria are heavily banked and Digital Asset holders are almost nonexistent. On the other hand, in a country like Uganda where the banks are weakly established, Digital Tokens are being adopted at a higher rate.
Lack Of Political Goodwill
African governments are renown for vehemently opposing Digital Tokens often labeling Cryptocurrencies as scams without offering in-depth reasoning for their opposition. For instance, Nigeria and Ghana have banned the use of Cryptos while countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Africa, Egypt, etc. are dismissive of Cryptos and lack concrete policies to govern Cryptocurrency adoption. Regrettably, very few African countries are in the process of creating policies for Cryptos as is the norm in other regions.
The Future Is Promising
In the near future, Crypto enthusiasts will start lobbying governments to adopt Crypto-friendly policies. For instance, Akon, the Senegalese-American musician managed to get land from the Senegal government to launch Akoin Blockchain and Digital Token-powered city.
Hopefully, African banks and governments will realize the immense opportunities that Digital Assets proffer and hence create a conducive environment for both Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies.