Laurent Lamothe, former Prime Minister of Haiti and chairman of the Board of Directors of Global Voice Group spoke in a session “Internet of Value: Blockchain and the Internet of Things” at the Transform Africa Summit 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday 10 May 2017.
Laurent Lamothe, former Prime Minister of Haiti and chairman of the Board of Directors of Global Voice Group (GVG), spoke in a session “Internet of Value: Blockchain and the Internet of Things (IOT)” at the Transform Africa Summit 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday 10 May 2017. His participation was particularly appropriate—GVG sponsored the Summit—and Lamothe’s life work has focused on the socio-economic upliftment of emerging countries through technology.
Transform Africa Summit 2017 (TAS2017), created by African leaders determined to transform their countries into emerging economies by 2030, was hosted by Mr Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda. It follows the Smart Africa manifesto endorsed by African leaders during TAS2013. Smart Africa is a common dream shared by these leaders. It will give opportunities to the younger generation to evolve in an environment conducive to technological innovation, self-development and competitiveness—leading to greater job creation. The Summit, held under the theme: “Smart Cities Fast Forward” showcased the kinds of strategies government leaders need in building more liveable, workable and sustainable cities.
Rwanda—of all the countries in Africa—has made enormous progress in communications, extending Internet accessibility, installing 2,300 kilometre fibre optic cabling nationwide, improving infrastructure and integrating ICTs, while prioritising e-Health and digital literacy initiatives. It has transformed itself into a nation that is progressing rapidly towards its ambitious vision for socio-economic development, peace and reconciliation.
The International Gateway Traffic Verification System (IGTVS), a joint initiative of GVG and the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) is a comprehensive data solution allowing RURA to audit and monitor the networks in Rwanda independently and for a number of purposes: accurate billing, traffic measurement, quality of service assessment, market surveillance, dispute resolution and fraud management. Rwanda now has transparency and visibility into the international calls being terminated in the country. This has brought a proactive approach to ICT-based regulation and real-time data collection and has generated significant additional revenue for both the State and the local operators. Rwanda’s successes are largely due to a collaborative effort between the country and ICT partners like GVG.
The Blockchain and the IOT session was extremely significant against the background of the Summit’s theme as Lamothe believes the combination of Blockchain and the IOT has the power to ignite socio-economic development in African countries. The next wave of innovative, integrated technologies is already helping cities around the world to become more compassionate, connected, responsive to their citizens and sustainable.
Blockchain is the technology most likely to have the greatest impact on the future of the world economy. The benefits of the technology are numerous as it can be applied to a wide array of businesses—and any transaction involving different levels or stages of a hierarchy or process, from logistics to retail and even government agencies. It is ideal for government services.
Lamothe showed how Blockchain is uniquely positioned to accelerate the movement towards inclusivity, solving hunger and poverty and creating sustainable jobs. It provides access to third party services: banking and financial services, small loans, insurance, document security and smart contracts. The transactions are affordable —there is no manual processing or middleman—neither government nor banks. With its many applications Blockchain has a huge role to play in the concept of a Smart City.
The IOT—the inter-networking of physical devices, buildings and other items embedded with electronics and network connectivity—enables data collection and exchange. It also encompasses technologies such as “smart grids”, virtual power plants, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities.
Lamothe believes that the combination of Blockchain and the IOT has the power to ignite socio-economic development in African countries. The next wave of innovative, integrated technologies is already helping cities around the world to become more compassionate, connected, responsive to their citizens and sustainable African cities must continuously seek to establish new infrastructure and city systems in cities so as to position them as global leaders and next generation cities.
The Summit focused on the role of technology in delivering the urban infrastructure and solutions to ensure economic success and prosperity for Africa now.