In 2023, there are many villages cut across several countries that don’t even have access to banking systems or technology.
For example, in Nigeria, 40 percent of the population doesn’t have a bank account, and out of the 59 million unbanked adults, 73 percent do not have the requisite documents to open a tier-three bank account.
This is the story across many African countries.
In a time when technology is accelerating in new ways, it is a pity Africa is being left behind.
In this article, I explore the phenomenal Web 3.0, why Africans need to leverage it to tackle their challenges, and how they can do that.
What’s this Web 3.0 thing all about?
Web 3.0 is the next stage of the internet, which is made up of decentralized networks, blockchain technology, and AI. It aims to create a more open, secure, and connected web where users have more control over their data and can interact with each other and machines more seamlessly.
In addition, cryptocurrency, an integral part of Web 3.0, enables secure, decentralized transactions without the need for intermediaries like banks. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum run on blockchain technology, which is a key component of Web 3.0. They offer fast, cheap, and transparent transactions, and their use cases go beyond just financial transactions.
For instance, some projects are exploring the use of cryptocurrencies for digital identity, voting, and more. The emergence of cryptocurrencies has opened up a new frontier of possibilities for Web 3.0, making it even more exciting and transformative. In Africa (data), which shows its exceptional adoption over the last few years.
Why African Countries Need to get Closer to Web 3.0 to Tackle their Greatest Challenges.
Web 3.0 is a revolutionary step forward in the evolution of the internet, and it’s poised to transform the way we live, work, and interact online.
And it’s not just hype.
Web 3.0 technologies like blockchain, decentralized networks, and smart contracts are already making an impact in various industries.
For instance, blockchain-based platforms are transforming the financial sector by enabling faster and cheaper cross-border payments. Decentralized networks are making it possible to create secure, transparent, and tamper-proof systems for voting, digital identity, and supply chain management.
As a continent with unique challenges, ranging from poor infrastructure to limited access to financial services, there’s a lot to gain from Web 3.0 for Africa. With the right investments in education, infrastructure, and policy, these technologies could be used to improve health care, farming, education, and other areas.
How Africans can use Web 3.0 to Overcome their Greatest Challenges
1. Improvement in access to financial services
One of the most significant challenges facing Africa is limited access to financial services. According to a global report by the World Bank, only 43% of adults in sub-Saharan Africa have access to a bank account, compared to a global average of 69%. This limits their ability to participate in the global economy, save money, and access credit. However, Web 3.0 technologies like cryptocurrency and blockchain offer a potential solution to this challenge.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum allow for secure, decentralized transactions without the need for intermediaries like banks. This means that anyone with an internet connection can send and receive money without the need for a traditional bank account.
For instance, in Nigeria, a country with a significant unbanked population, the use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has grown in recent years. According to a report by Paxful, Nigeria is the second-largest Bitcoin market in the world after the United States.
In addition, blockchain technology can also help address the challenges of financial inclusion in Africa. By creating secure, transparent, and tamper-proof systems, blockchain can enable the creation of new financial services that are accessible to everyone.
In Kenya, the mobile money platform M-PESA has been successful in providing basic financial services to millions of people who previously had no access to banks. However, M-PESA is still centralized and controlled by a single company. Web 3.0 technologies like blockchain can enable the creation of decentralized alternatives that are more secure and accessible.
2. Tackling the age-long infrastructure decay
Another significant challenge facing Africa is poor infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. According to the World Bank, over 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity, and over 400 million lack access to safe water. Web 3.0 technologies like decentralized networks and smart contracts offer a potential solution to these challenges.
Decentralized networks can enable the creation of new infrastructure that is not dependent on centralized authorities. For example, the blockchain-based platform WePower is building a global renewable energy network with the help of decentralized networks.By enabling anyone to invest in renewable energy projects and receive returns through cryptocurrency, WePower aims to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable energy system.
Smart contracts, on the other hand, can help ensure that infrastructure projects are completed on time and within budget. On the continent, where a large swath of land is covered in corrupt practices, smart contracts are game changers. By creating self-executing contracts that are enforced by code, smart contracts can eliminate the need for intermediaries and reduce the risk of corruption. In Sierra Leone, the startup Kiva is using blockchain technology to create a system for tracking the disbursement of aid funds. By using smart contracts, Kiva can ensure that aid is distributed to the intended recipients and is used for its intended purpose.
3. Tackling Agriculture’s Underdevelopment
Agriculture is a critical sector for many African countries, providing employment and contributing to economic growth. However, the sector faces significant challenges, ranging from limited access to markets, insecurity, and inadequate infrastructure to low productivity.
Web 3.0 technologies like blockchain and decentralized networks offer a potential solution to these challenges.
Blockchain can help make secure, clear supply chains that let farmers sell their goods directly to buyers. Presently, blockchain-based platform, based in Ghana, is using blockchain to create a marketplace that connects smallholder farmers with buyers. By creating a transparent, tamper-proof system, AgroCenta aims to eliminate intermediaries and increase farmers’ incomes.
Decentralized networks can also help people make new farming methods that are more productive and last longer.For example, the startup FarmBlocks is using decentralized networks to make a system for tracking agricultural data like weather patterns and soil conditions.By providing farmers with more accurate data, FarmBlocks aims to increase yields and reduce waste.
4. Drive innovation and improve learning in the declining education sector
Education is another critical sector where Web 3.0 technologies can make a significant impact.
According to UNESCO, over 30 million children in sub-Saharan Africa do not attend school, and many of those who do receive a poor quality of education. Web 3.0 technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain offer a potential solution to these challenges.
Artificial intelligence can enable personalized learning experiences that are tailored to the needs of individual students. In modern South Africa, Paper Video employs AI to create educational videos that adapt to individual students’ learning styles and abilities.
Blockchain can enable the creation of decentralized educational systems that are accessible to everyone. Also, blockchain-based platform BitDegree aims to create a decentralized education system that is accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. By creating a transparent, tamper-proof system, BitDegree aims to increase trust and reduce the cost of education.
Moving Forward, What should government institutions do to hasten these processes?
To speed up the adoption of Web 3.0 technologies and use them to solve Africa’s biggest problems, African governments must create an environment that makes it easy for people to use them.
Here are some steps that African governments can take:
Make it more engaging:
Governments should engage with citizens and create awareness of the potential of Web 3.0 technologies. This can be done through public campaigns, workshops, and community events.
More adoption of Web 3.0 among citizens:
Governments should incentivize citizens to adopt Web 3.0 technologies by providing tax incentives or subsidies for businesses that use blockchain or decentralized networks.
Invest in Web 3.0 education:
Governments should invest in training programs that equip citizens with the skills needed to develop and deploy Web 3.0 technologies. This will create a pool of talent that can drive innovation and support the growth of the Web 3.0 ecosystem.
Invest in web 3.0 infrastructure:
Governments should invest in the development of web 3.0 infrastructure, such as high-speed internet, data centers, and blockchain networks. This will create a solid foundation for the development and deployment of Web 3.0 technologies.
Provide an enabling environment for investors in the crypto industry:
Governments should create an enabling environment for investors in the crypto industry by providing clear regulations, tax incentives, and a supportive ecosystem. Dubai provides a good example of how governments can create a crypto-friendly environment. The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) launched a crypto center to provide a regulatory framework and support for crypto startups.
By doing these things, African governments can speed up the use of Web 3.0 technologies and use them to solve the continent’s biggest problems.
With the right investments, policies, and infrastructure, Africa can become a leader in the Web 3.0 ecosystem and drive economic growth, innovation, and social progress.
About The Author
Ibrahim Kazeem is a web 3. 0 content writer and social media manager with interests in cryptocurrency, smart contracts, blockchain technology and its use cases across industries.