January 18 2018; The Government has began setting up a taskforce that will work on a comprehensive strategy to encourage and adopt emerging technologies such as Blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).
Kenya’s minister for ICT Joe Mucheru says his ministry this week began receiving applications from interested and qualified Kenyans who would wish to form part of the group. The working group will consist of local blockchain startups, experts, academics, researchers, local ICT experts, various regulatory bodies, lawyers and representatives from a number of corporates including IBM.
The taskforce will help the Govt evaluate proposals on how to exploit opportunities blockchain technology offers for added efficiency in public sector processes and service. The group, apart from suggesting large-scale use of blockchain in the government, will also promote research and application development along with promoting startups in this space.
CS Mucheru noted, “We are keen to adopt blockchain technology to ensure efficiency in government. I am convinced that the areas of blockchain and artificial intelligence are going to be extremely key for the things we are going to do in the next five years.”
Blockchain technology is already being tested by some banks in Kenya and some Government departments including the ministry of lands and the ministry of health. The technology could be deployed by the govt to create fool-proof land records which are not only digital and correct but also prevent multiple sale or unauthorised access.
Blockchain is a continuously growing list of records called blocks which are linked and secured. When deployed, it can serve as an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties in a verifiable and permanent way.
During an interview with a local TV over the weekend, CS Mucheru said, “I also want to make sure that even as we look at the future, we’re not left behind in certain areas for instance on the blockchain technologies, the hashgraph we want to be part of that growth. We missed out on the internet, blockchain we must.”
“Whether we want to be part of it or not, its not our choice. The world is already moving in that direction.” he said.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the other hand, which is being hailed globally as the next big thing with most Internet giants developing apps on top of it, can have several applications in healthcare, law, railways, etc.