Barclays Africa's Blockchain Transaction A World First

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It’s been a busy week for the continent’s fintech scene.

The past week saw MTN South Africa announce that it would be discontinuing its mobile money service due to “a lack of commercial viability”. This revelation comes just months after Vodacom South Africa ended its catastrophic attempt at copying and pasting Kenya’s M-Pesa magic.

Meanwhile, Madagascar became only the second African country after Tanzania to to roll out mobile money interoperability across the country's mobile networks.

But easily one of the catchiest headline stories of the past week was about Barclays Africa’s involvement in what’s being celebrated as the very first blockchain verified financial transaction in the world by a major banking institution. The pilot deal between The Seychelles Trading Company Ltd. and Ornua saw the two companies harness a blockchain platform developed by Wave to trade a letter of credit.

This transaction has to be Barclays’ most overt show of confidence in the potential of blockchain technology to deliver improved efficiencies in international trade.

Also in this week’s African Tech Round-up is a discussion Andile Masuku had with the Kenyan journalist, Eric Mugendi. Eric is Editor-at-large at iAfrikan.com, and also writes for his Tumbler called Kenyan Longreads.

Eric joined Andile on the show to discuss the controversy that unfolded on Twitter around the African Tech Summit happening in London on September 29th. The event’s conspicuously mostly male, non-black/non-African speaker list included folks many people in the Twitterverse did not feel were representative of Africa’s tech ecosystem, and also managed to leave out many worthy participants. Andile and Eric went about unpacking the issues at play.