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April 14, 2024

Uniccon launches 1st blockchain technology to drive Africa’s inclusion

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L-R Chris Ebosie ,Group General Manager, UNICCON Group; David Sado ,HR, UNICCON Group; Blessing Daniel, Representative of NITDA; Chuks Ekwueme, Chairman, UNICCON Group; Hauwa Yahaya (Representative of Nigeria Computer Society); Tolulope Bankole (M&E Manger, UNICCON Group), Johnpaul Nwobodo (Investment Analyst, Adaverse); Ronald Ajiboye (Drones, Strategy, & Public Relations Consultant), and Kehinde Ake (General Manager, UNICCON Group).

 

By Jessica Dogo

The UNICCON Group of Companies has launched its first blockchain technology ‘SmartAfri Labs’, to drive the inclusion of Africans and adopt a specialised technology in the region.

The launch held at Uniccon’s Headquarters on Friday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SmartAfri Labs is the brain-child of Uniccon Group of Companies; founded in 2018 and developed under the STEM arm of the organisation.

Speaking during the launch, the Chairman of UNICCON Group, Dr Chuks Ekwueme, shared insightful statistics to illustrate the poor inclusion and adoption of the blockchain ecosystem in Africa.

According to him, Africa has less than a 5 per cent stake in the projected $1.1 trillion the industry promises.

Ekwueme said: “We have created technology and platforms to drive inclusion by up to 25 per cent by the year 2025.

“Our Virtual Reality (VR) headsets for example are more affordable, and will not exclude poor Africans from using the technology. This is inclusion.”

Ekwueme said that blockchain should not be viewed as crypto, adding that the notion should be vacated.

“It is erroneous to view blockchain technology as being crypto. It is much more than that, and that notion should be vacated.

“We have built this platform, which is a fusion of Web 2.0 and 3.0 and we are keen on being key participants in the 4th Idustrial Revolution (4G).

“There is a huge market in our Non-Fungible Token (NFT) marketplace as Nigerians and Africans from the creative and other industries can tap into it to generate wealth and add to the GDP,” he said.

The General Manager of Uniccon, Mr Kehinde Ake, said that SmartAfri Labs offered exceptional levels of security, transparency, and efficiency.

 

Ake said that the blockchain would grant users the ability to transfer assets, save data, and carry out smart contracts in a decentralised and fraud-proof network.

 

“We have created this technology to allow Africans to stand tall, raise their heads, spread their shoulders, and take giant strides in an ecosystem that was once alien to them,” he said.

Mr John Nwobodo, an industry investment analyst spoke about the monumental impact of blockchain technology in a wide variety of industries.

 

Nwobodo quoted the 2021 World Bank report as saying: “66 per cent of Nigerians are unbanked and the banked are being recycled by existing financial service providers.

 

“The cost of cross-border remittance is very high and using blockchain can help reduce these numbers, making cross-border remittances cheaper and defying geographical barriers.”

The company’s Chief Technology Officer, Eval Esege, in his presentation ‘SmartAfri Labs’, took the audience on an experiential journey of what it does, how it works, and its many bundled benefit the users.

 

“SmartAfri Labs was borne out of the need to create a blockchain ecosystem that represents African values and culture.

 

“We have set up a partnership opportunity available from today to allow those who resonate with our vision to join us on this journey,” he said.

The launch had in attendance representatives from the National Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA), the Nigerian Computing Society (NCS),the blockchain community and the private sector.

 

NAN also reports that the novel product, which is the first African blockchain technology consists of SmartAfri Chain (blockchain node), NFT Marketplace (Create and sell NFTs), SmartAfri Verse (Metaverse),

 

Others are: SmartAfri eMarket (fusion of 2.0 and 3.0) and UNICCON VR(locally made and subsidized headsets).

The project seeks to increase stakes for Africans, encourage more developers to get into the niche and overall, to drive massive inclusion. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

 

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Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani

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