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Ghana Set to Pioneer Blockchain Technology in African Governance

Ghana is poised to make history as the first African nation to implement blockchain technology in its e-government processes, announced Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia. Addressing the 14th Regional Conference and Annual General Meeting of African Anti-corruption agencies in Accra, Bawumia emphasized the potential of blockchain to enhance transparency and combat fraudulent activities within state systems.

The adoption of blockchain, according to Bawumia, will empower government authorities to identify and deter fraudulent transactions effectively. Additionally, it will provide a cost-effective solution for securing the data of citizens who utilize the nation’s centralized online platform, ‘ghana.gov.’

Joining the ranks of countries like Estonia, UAE, Australia, Singapore, Georgia, and Sweden, Ghana’s embrace of blockchain underscores its commitment to leveraging innovative technologies for governance and accountability.

Since 2020, the Ghanaian government has witnessed a significant increase in revenue, totaling 201 billion cedis, attributed to the streamlined services offered through the online portal, circumventing bureaucratic hurdles and time-consuming processes.

Furthermore, Bawumia unveiled Ghana’s plans to introduce a digital currency, the e-Cedi, pending approval by the Central Bank. This digital currency promises enhanced traceability compared to physical money, bolstering transparency within government financial transactions.

“The e-Cedi will serve as a pivotal tool in our anti-corruption efforts, facilitating the tracking of monetary movements and identification of suspicious activities,” remarked Bawumia.

By harnessing blockchain technology’s sophisticated identification processes and decentralized network, Ghana aims to fortify its government systems against data manipulation and corruption.

Bawumia expressed optimism that this technological advancement would revolutionize governance by rendering it virtually impossible to include ghost workers or fictitious pensioners in governmental payrolls.

Digitization’s Role in Combating Corruption in Africa

While Ghana and other African nations make strides in digitizing government services, questions persist about the efficacy of these measures in combating corruption.

Kenya, for instance, has made significant progress with platforms like e-Citizen, resulting in a notable increase in revenue collection. However, challenges persist in digitizing functions such as tax collection, with skepticism prevailing regarding the ability of digitization alone to address entrenched corruption.

Critics argue that corruption in many African states transcends detection, emphasizing the importance of expediting corruption cases and recovering embezzled funds. Despite revelations from oversight bodies like Kenya’s Auditor General, prosecutions often falter, allowing perpetrators to evade justice.

Additionally, entrenched corruption, sanctioned through inflated budgets and bloated wage bills, poses formidable challenges to anti-corruption efforts, even in the era of digitization.

Without concerted efforts to address root causes and strengthen institutions, corruption may persist, adapting to technological advancements meant to thwart it.

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