Interswitch Partners Microsoft to Launch Blockchain Service In Nigeria

Interswitch group, a pan-African payment processing and lead financial services company had on Friday 2nd November held an event in Lagos, Nigeria to unveil the first blockchain-enabled supply chain financing application.

The blockchain (supply chain module) project has Microsoft as its major partner and utilizes the Microsoft Azure Cloud Blockhain service. The event had in attendance, other supporting companies and Nigerian banks; including the Dangote Group, United Bank of Africa (UBA), Zenith Bank PLC and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) which have all used the service in its pilot testing over past months.

Speaking on the project’s objectives, the Divisional CEO of Payment Processing at Interswitch– Mr. Akeem Lawal explained that:

The service is aims to digitize the process between corporate organizations and banks when providing trade financing to entrepreneurs and business owners in the supply chain sector.

He further added that the blockchain-supply chain will ‘streamline the process of accessing trade finance by SMEs from three months to three weeks’ as well as provide more access to financing for entrepreneurs which will in turn promote business expansion for more job creation and economic growth.

Taking cue from the Blockchain definition by Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value. In line with this, the benefits of the interswitch blockchain-supply chain module include to: reduce frauds, eliminate intermediaries (third parties), promote revenue, create new partnerships and allow businesses expand into new markets.

Microsoft Program Manager and representative at the event, Micheal Glaros expressed enthusiasm about the project as he opined: “Blockchain technology is still in its infancy in Nigeria. We are happy to pioneer its deployment with interswitch.”

The event also featured other activities such as media briefing of the public on the project’s basics, a live demonstration of the application service utility.

According to an attendee at the event, Toyosi Bolarin; the use of blockchain technology has been overtime focused on payments and securities, with an important use case like supply chain still very undervalued. For him, the event and more activities in this regard, would solve Nigeria’s most difficult financial and logistics problem using Blockchain technology.

Other enthusiasts opine that the project is a step in the right direction to fix some of the flaws of the Nigerian banking system. For them, even though the platform does not deploy the use of cryptocurrency at this time, its use of crypto’s underlying technology is a pointer to what is to come.

In all, the Interswitch project aims at bringing together entrepreneurs, financial institutions and corporate organisations on a single platform; to promote visibility and transparency of transactions while proving the possibility of building a reliable distributed ledger for the Nigerian financial system.

To see highlights of the event click ⇒ Interswitch twitter

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