Silicon Valley is always seen as the proving ground for emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain. It was no coincidence that market-changing businesses such as Uber and Airbnb started operations in San Francisco. It makes sense that hi-tech solutions will attract a hi-tech audience, especially when they offer greater convenience. The problem with such innovation, however, is that it is primarily designed to make people's lives easier, and does not address pressing problems. For example, African challenges such as corruption, limited infrastructure and trade complexities are not on Silicon Valley's radar. It was startling, then, to hear of a Nigerian civil servant who argues that "blockchain was built for Africa". Aber T Benjamin has the imposing title of Assistant Comptroller-General Modernisation at the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). The NCS, described as the principal enforcer of the Nigerian government's fiscal policies, is tasked with "respo...

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