Tech dream team to produce Kenya's blockchain roadmap


From left, University of Nairobi associate professor and former Information permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo, tech entrepreneur Juliana Rotich and Safaricom Head of Corporate Affairs Steve Chege. PHOTOS | FILE

Dr Bitange Ndemo has been appointed chairman of a government taskforce that will explore the use of distributed ledger technology and artificial intelligence for development in Kenya.

The 11-member team, which has a tenure of three months, has been established by ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru and will be expected to produce a roadmap for the use of these technologies locally.

A distributed ledger is a database that is simultaneously shared among many computers making it nearly impossible to erase stored records. Blockchain is the best known type of distributed ledger technology and it, in turn, is famous for being the technology that underpins Bitcoin, a virtual currency.

However, blockchain has applications beyond this and is being trialled across the world for supply chain management, storing government data and even developing secure voting systems.

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Use in education, lands

In Kenya, Mr Mucheru said that the government expects that distributed ledger technology has obvious applications in the education and lands sectors.

The taskforce will also consider decentralising incubation hubs beyond Nairobi and explore the “possibility of an innovation SACCO and/or fund within the next 12 months,” according to Mr Mucheru.

Other members of the taskforce include Safaricom head of corporate affairs Steve Chege and Juliana Rotich, a tech entrepreneur who is currently consulting for Novato Africa but is best known as one of the co-founders of BRCK and Ushahidi.

Others on the team are John Gitau, Mahmoud Mohammed Noor, Dr Charity Wayua, Elizabeth Ondula, John Walubengo, Lesley Mbogo, Michael Onyango and Fred Michuki.

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