In order to promote the inclusion of Africans and the use of specialised technology in the region, the UNICCON Group of Companies has introduced its first blockchain technology, called "SmartAfri Labs."
The launch took place on Friday in Abuja at Uniccon's headquarters.
According to NAN, SmartAfri Labs was created by the Uniccon Group of Companies in 2018 and is being developed under the STEM division of the company.
Dr Chuks Ekwueme, Chairman of UNICCON Group, spoke at the event and provided illuminating statistics to highlight the low inclusion and acceptance of the blockchain ecosystem in Africa.
He said that Africa only accounts for less than 5% of the $1.1 trillion that the business is expected to generate.
“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 Industrial 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.
Kehinde Ake, the general manager of Uniccon, claimed that SmartAfri Laboratories provided extraordinary levels of security, openness, and effectiveness.
According to Ake, a decentralised and fraud-proof network would enable users to move funds, store data, and execute smart contracts.
“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.
Industry investment analyst John Nwobodo spoke on the enormous influence of blockchain technology across many different businesses.
According to Nwobodo's citation of the 2021 World Bank report, 66% of Nigerians lack bank accounts, and those who do have accounts are recycled by current 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 for 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 National Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA), the Nigerian Computing Society (NCS), the blockchain community, and the private sector were all represented at the event.
The first African blockchain technology, according to NAN, is a revolutionary product that consists of SmartAfri Chain (a blockchain node), NFT Marketplace (a location to create and trade NFTs), and SmartAfri Verse (Metaverse).
Additional examples include UNICCON VR and SmartAfri eMarket (a 2.0 and 3.0 hybrid) (locally made and subsidised headsets).
The project aims to enhance Africans' stakes, encourage more developers to enter the market and promote broad inclusion.
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