Blockchain technology is not entirely new in Nigeria, having been used by the Central Bank of Nigeria and others over the years. However, the Federal Government of Nigeria’s recent approval of a national blockchain policy (NBP) is a significant step toward leveraging the transformative potential of blockchain technology to solve some of the nation’s numerous challenges.
Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger technology that is decentralised and offers immutable and transparent record-keeping capabilities. Nigeria, like many other developing countries, is faced with several challenges some of which could be addressed through the deployment of blockchain technology, which has gained significant attention in recent years due to its potential to revolutionise various industries and sectors. We will be looking at how blockchain technology can be used to solve Nigeria’s numerous problems, such as corruption, secured and centralised identity system, financial inclusion, supply chain management, election irregularities, and more. In order to enthrone national development and improve the well-being of the over 200 million Nigerians. Likewise, highlighting how stakeholders can best capitalise on this opportunity.
Leveraging National Blockchain Policy for Nation’s Development
Corruption is one of Nigeria’s major problems. Corruption has permeated all aspects of Nigerian society, from the public to private sectors. For decades, it has stifled the country’s progress and development. Corruption is estimated to cost the Nigerian economy billions of dollars annually. According to a UNODC report, Nigeria lost about $400 billion from independence to 1999. However, the use of blockchain technology can aid in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. Creating an immutable and transparent ledger that records all transactions, provides transparency, accountability, and immutability. It can also be used to create smart contracts, which automatically execute agreements without the use of intermediaries, track government spending, and monitor public contracts, reducing the possibility of corruption to a bare minimum.
Another problem confronting Nigeria is the absence of a dependable and centralised identity management system. The vast majority of Nigerians lack formal identification documents, making it difficult for them to access basic services and participate in the economy. Nigeria can build a robust and dependable identity management system that can be used to verify and authenticate citizens’ identities by deploying blockchain technology. Individuals would be able to control their personal information and gain access to essential services such as healthcare, education, and financial services through a blockchain-based identity management system.
Additionally, blockchain technology has the potential to improve the country’s electoral process. Allegations of vote rigging and other irregularities have marred Nigerian elections at every election circle. Blockchain technology has the potential to be used to build a secure and transparent voting system that is resistant to hacking and manipulation. This could help to ensure that election results accurately reflect the will of the people and that the election process is fair and transparent, which will help to reduce post-election tensions and litigation.
NBP for Financial Inclusion
Another challenge that Nigeria faces is financial inclusion. Only 40% of adults in Nigeria have access to formal financial services, according to The Global Findex Database. Blockchain technology can be used to build a decentralized financial system that is open to all, regardless of location or socioeconomic status. Individuals can use blockchain technology to gain access to financial services such as loans, savings, and investments without the use of intermediaries or traditional financial institutions. This will aid in the promotion of financial inclusion and the reduction of poverty in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government could also use the technology to improve the country’s healthcare system. Inefficiencies, inadequate infrastructure, and a shortage of healthcare workers plague Nigeria’s healthcare system. However, the use of blockchain technology can assist in addressing some of these issues. For example, blockchain technology can be used to create a secure and decentralized database of patient records that healthcare professionals can access in real-time. This can help to improve the quality of care given to patients while also reducing medical errors. Furthermore, blockchain technology can be used to create a transparent and tamper-proof system for managing drug supply chains, ensuring that patients receive genuine medications.
Nigeria also has a problem with land ownership and property rights. Nigeria’s current land registry system is fragmented and prone to errors, resulting in disputes over land ownership and competing claims. Blockchain technology, on the other hand, can provide a secure and immutable record-keeping system for land ownership and property rights. Nigeria can create a transparent and tamper-proof land registry system by incorporating the technology. This will reduce the occurrence of land ownership disputes and provide a reliable means of verifying property rights.
A Transparent Supply Chain Management
Another challenge that Nigeria faces is supply chain management. The lack of transparency and traceability in the supply chain makes ensuring product safety and quality difficult. Blockchain technology can be used to build a transparent and traceable supply chain that ensures product authenticity and quality. Consumers can easily trace the origin of products, verify their authenticity, and ensure that they are safe to consume using blockchain technology.
The agricultural sector contributes significantly to the Nigerian economy, but it faces several challenges, including low productivity, poor infrastructure, and insufficient funding. By establishing a transparent and efficient agricultural supply chain, blockchain technology can help to address these issues. This can boost productivity by reducing waste and ensuring farmers receive fair prices for their produce. Furthermore, blockchain technology can be used to provide farmers with financial access by creating a decentralized lending platform that is open to all.
To fully realize the transformative potential of blockchain technology, stakeholders in Nigeria must collaborate and invest in research and development. The government must foster a regulatory environment that promotes innovation and investment in blockchain technology. This includes policies such as tax breaks, funding, and regulatory sandboxes that encourage the development and adoption of blockchain technology. The private sector can also help to accelerate the adoption of blockchain technology. Companies can invest in R&D, collaborate with blockchain startups, and use blockchain technology to solve business problems.
Furthermore, a skilled workforce is required to develop, deploy, and maintain blockchain-based solutions. Nigerian stakeholders can invest in education and training programs that provide individuals with the skills and knowledge required to develop and deploy blockchain-based solutions. Training programs for developers, entrepreneurs, and policymakers are included.
Finally, the implementation of blockchain technology in Nigeria has the potential to address some of the country’s most pressing issues. As the technology provides transparency, accountability, and immutability. It is also an ideal solution for combating corruption, improving identity management, resolving land disputes, improving healthcare, and improving supply chain management. However, the successful implementation of the NBP in Nigeria will necessitate the collaboration of all stakeholders, including the government, private sector, and civil society, because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Nigeria to lead the adoption and development of blockchain technology in Africa and beyond.