Blockchain Has Benefits for African Markets, Says Alexander Forbes CEO


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The chief executive officer of one of Africa’s biggest and diversified financial and insurance company, Alexander Forbes, has told CCN that there are benefits in deploying blockchain technology in corporate operations.

The company’s chief executive officer, Andrew Darfoor, told CCN in Harare on Friday that blockchain is an exciting technological platform that the company is investigating and assessing.

Several other African companies, as well as the South African government, have already made advances on blockchain, considered key for its decentralized management nature which experts say helps with transparency.

Darfoor said in an interview with CCN in Harare:

“Blockchain is something that we are investigating and we are assessing it. I think blockchain has benefits but I think it’s a broader digital strategy.”

Alexander Forbes is listed in South Africa and has operations in that country as well as in Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia among others. It has just received regulatory approvals after acquiring a significant stake in an actuarial company in Zimbabwe.

South Africa has just completed a blockchain trial for the banking sector which was undertaken by the country’s reserve bank. It determined that about 70,000 transactions processed through the automated settlement system can be completed within two hours at an average of two seconds.

The trial of blockchain deployment by the Reserve Bank of South Africa has buoyed other players in the country. For Alexander Forbes, blockchain can be a game changer and it has set up an innovation team to work on technological platforms and possible deployment across its operations and across its South African and rest of Africa markets.

The innovation team will investigate blockchain usage and adoption alongside other digital platforms as well as Artificial Intelligence and data interrogation.

“We have created a group innovation team that looks at all channels, digital, AI, data interrogation. We have created a new team that’s assessing this technology and how we need to evolve our business,” added Darfoor.

There is growing interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies in Africa and markets running from Zimbabwe to Kenya and into West Africa are buzzing with advances towards utilizing the platform.

According to a report by Global Risk Insights, the “most important factors” that have influenced the development of Africa’s cryptocurrency and blockchain markets include “its large informal” sector.

However, companies also dealing with formally employed professionals are also seeing opportunities for usage of blockchain and adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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