This blog post briefly summarizes our interest in blockchain/distributed ledger technology and how it undergirds Charles Winnsboro’s different endeavors.
We are passionate about infrastructure development in sub-Saharan Africa. Not bridges, waste-to-energy, or power generation. These initiatives are important, and we are grateful other people are pursuing them. We wish them much success. But we are far more interested in, for want of a better term, “soft” or “intangible” infrastructure: access to world-class education, healthcare, and financial services for Africa’s rapidly growing population. Just as you cannot have mobile telephony without building undersea cable capacity, or apps and websites without cloud-based infrastructure such as AWS, it is our firm belief that improving education, health, and financial inclusion are necessary predicates to building modern, vibrant economies throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Accordingly, Charles Winnsboro has chosen to focus on these areas. What has become clear, however, is that there is a “meta” predicate – collation of data and digitization of same. Until African countries can solve the problem of identity, they cannot make much progress on issues of financial inclusion. Until companies and higher education institutions can demonstrate the legitimacy of educational and work qualifications, we will not be able to secure good employment opportunities for African youth. And, as Chidi has written elsewhere, African countries cannot unlock the vast economic potential for land transactions until they have trusted land registry systems. Other examples abound.
That is why we are interested in blockchain/DLT. Because of its characteristics as a verifiable, decentralized and immutable ledger, blockchain promotes trust and allows parties to engage in economic activity that otherwise would not have occurred. That is particularly important in places like Nigeria, where the various plagues of bureaucracy, fraud, and corruption have made the country a rather inhospitable place for business, its demographic and strategic allure notwithstanding.
So how do Charles Winnsboro’s business endeavors incorporate blockchain/DLT?
- Education. Charles Winnsboro has developed a four-stage proposal to reinvigorate and provide financing for Nigeria’s higher education institutions. A major component of the proposal involves collaboration with foreign colleges and universities. Underlying and tying together the various stages of the proposal will be a blockchain-based solution that has the following aims:
- To provide back office support for Charles Winnsboro’s recruiting and marketing efforts;
- To perform audit and verification functions for prior and current educational and work experience, so that potential employers are guaranteed that hires have the relevant work experience;
- To provide big datasets (which can separately be monetized) that follow the educational and work success of individuals participating in Charles Winnsboro’s education programs.
- Financial Inclusion. Charles Winnsboro has developed a blockchain-based remittance solution for Nigerians in the diaspora. The remittance solution also establishes a pooled investment vehicle, where one cent of every dollar remitted is reinvested in Nigerian businesses at home or in the diaspora. The solution will allow the recipient to immediately receive money (fiat or cryptocurrency) on their phone.
- Telemedicine and Healthcare. Charles Winnsboro is consulting with a group of investors/entrepreneurs working to establish healthcare facilities in Nigeria and a telehealth solution. Our interest in the project is to establish an electronic health records database, based on the blockchain, that will allow for the efficient transmission and access of patient medical records. As with the education solution, this database can be monetized in various ways, including through targeted ad revenues.
We hope this description is helpful and demonstrates the blockchain-based approach common to the initiatives Charles Winnsboro is working on. Our intention is for Charles Winnsboro to become the premier provider of blockchain solutions in sub-Saharan Africa across the education, healthcare, and financial inclusion verticals.