West Africa seems to be one of the most rapidly expanding economies in the world with all of the major economic powers, such as the United States, Russian and China, investing heavily in the region.
But on the ground conditions are much different with a huge income disparity between the people and the financial interests, making countries like Ghana fertile ground for Bitcoin expansion and Bitcoin education.
One organization that wants to improve the situation is the Dream Bitcoin Foundation, a non-profit organization created by a young Ghanaian Bitcoin enthusiast, Philip Asare, to empower young crypto entrepreneurs in Ghana. The Foundation will be hosting Ghana´s first ever Bitcoin Seminar on Thursday, December 11, 2014 in the Ghanaian city of Kumasi.
Ghana, on the surface, appears to be a shining example of prosperity but the fact is inflation has been rampant in the small country during the last two years. Food prices are climbing rapidly while wages have flat-lined, leaving most of the population in severe economic distress. Blame has been put mainly on government corruption and its inability to manage the nation’s natural resources.
The use of mobile payments is on the rise in Africa with companies like BitPesa and M-Pesa starting to comprise a large chunk of the GDP in some countries. A significant portion of the population receives money from relatives working abroad and the high fees imposed by companies such as Western Union grab a big cut of this much needed money. Thus, Bitcoin, with its much touted lower remittance costs, certainly holds a lot of potential for growth on the continent.
The Dream Foundation, in cooperation with Bitnation, the Conscious Entrepreneurship Foundation, Coinapult, Bitrefill, and New World University plan to use this first regional seminar, which will be held over two days at the Kumasi Polytechnic University, to introduce tools that will hopefully facilitate Bitcoin entrepreneurship in the country and beyond.
“Phillip is helping me learn a lot of about Bitcoin and how I can take this same idea and technology back to my country, Sierra Leone,” said Mustafa Cole, co-founder of Sierra Leone Liberty Group to Cointelegraph. “People will discover the benefits of Bitcoin and how it can help reduce the cost of remittances that are sent via western union, money gram and other means.”
Cole further explained:
“I am working with 8 other members that are doing really good work for the people in Sierra Leone, which is especially needed now with the Ebola outbreak. The Bitcoin committee has helped us a lot in the fight against this deadly virus and they also give me this opportunity to come and witness the first Dream Bitcoin seminar.”
The seminar will cover topics such as “do-it-yourself” governance and mobile payment systems that will be audience interactive with break-out sessions, open ended discussions and problem oriented group assessments. Speakers will range from local entrepreneurs to international experts, including author Dan McLaughlin, Andreas Antonopoulos, Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof of Bitnation, and Professor Charles Evans. Local speakers include Nikunj Handa from the local Bitcoin startup BeamRemit and Alakanani Itireleng, also known as the 'Bitcoin Lady,' from Botswana.
The economic repression that has enveloped Africa makes the continent one of the best places for such initiatives and support from the global Bitcoin community and organizations such as the Dream Bitcoin Foundation is an excellent beginning to what promises to be a long and challenging process.
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