How technology is now reshaping human and business relations
2 months ago, 12 July 14:25
The past two months have been quite busy for anyone interested in new frontiers in technology in Kampala.
We hosted the largest blockchain conference on the continent on May 23 and 24. With over 800 participants from 23 countries around the world, the level of interest was as globally diverse as it was unexpected.
There were Ugandans of all shades of life in that audience. There were also the most sophisticated investors in blockchain and cryptocurrency present.
I was especially delighted to see a large Kenyan presence. The Blockchain Association of Kenya came in large numbers.
A key highlight was Dr Bitange Ndemo’s presentation on Kenya’s work on the three big technologies of the future: Blockchain, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence.
Dr Ndemo did not define concepts. He spoke of how far along the journey Kenya is in harnessing the potential and power of these technologies.
Many of us in the private sector dread listening to public servants at conferences. They are often unprepared and boring. This was not the case with Dr Ndemo and Frank Tumwebaze, Uganda’s Minister for ICT, who crowned his speech by announcing that a task force on blockchain and other technologies is in the works.
You know you are at a new dawn when presidents start attending conferences on subjects like blockchain and holding the crowd spellbound with simple but profound explanations such as how to blockchainise the ownership and sale of cattle!
East Africa may have given the world mobile money but blockchain will perhaps be the technology that broadens the spectrum for East Africans to play on the global technology stage.
The public outcry in Kenya and Uganda on the new tax regimes affecting mobile money and social media in these countries has captured the various arguments against policy measures that seem connected from the plight of the citizens.
The subject of these social media and mobile money taxes deserves more justice in a piece of its own.
For now, it suffices to say many Ugandans went to bed on the night of July 1 wondering how we got here. It is not in doubt that tech related developments like these affect persons in remote areas as much as those in urban areas.
One possible reaction to the mobile money tax is that it may lead to a growth in agency banking.
One is forgiven for speculating that banks may have been behind this new tax. But we wait to see how banks like Stanbic that are big in the mobile money space will be affected by this new tax, if at all.
Interestingly, on July 12 and 13, Stanbic Bank will host a Tech Masterclass that is open to the public.
In all these developments, one is drawn to the centrality of data in our day-to-day lives and operations. To examine this point further, let us wind the clock back only to April this year.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook testified before the US Congress. The subject, as the reader will remember, related ...
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