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UNICCON Group Launches Africa’s First Blockchain Technology

The UNICCON Group of Companies yesterday launched its blockchain technology – SmartAfri Labs, to drive the inclusion of Africans and adoption of the specialised technology in the region.

Chairman of UNICCON Group, Dr. Chuks Ekwueme, shared insightful statistics to illustrate the poor inclusion and adoption of the blockchain ecosystem in Africa.

  He said, “Africa has less than a 5 percent stake in the projected $1.1 trillion the industry promises. We have created technology and platforms to drive inclusion by up to 25 percent by the year 2025. Our VR headsets for example are more affordable and will not exclude poor Africans from using the technology. This is inclusion. 

Ekweme explained that it is erroneous to view blockchain technology as being crypto. “It is much more than that, and that notion should be vacated. We have built this platform, which is a fusion of Web 2.0 and 3.0 and we are keen on being key participants in the 4IR. There is a huge market in our NFT marketplace as Nigerians and Africans from the creative and other industries can tap into it to generate wealth and add to the GDP,” Ekwueme explained.

The novel product, which is the first African blockchain technology, consists of SmartAfri Chain (blockchain node), NFT Marketplace (Create and sell NFTs), SmartAfri Verse (Metaverse), SmartAfri eMarket (fusion of 2.0 and 3.0) and UNICCON VR(locally made and subsidized headsets). The project seeks to increase stakes for Africans, encourage more developers to get into the niche, and overall, to drive massive inclusion.

Speaking during the welcome address, Kehinde Ake, General Manager, UNICCON, stated that SmartAfri Labs offers exceptional levels of security, transparency, and efficiency, granting users the ability to transfer assets, save data, and carry out smart contracts in a decentralized and fraud-proof network. “We have created this technology to allow Africans to stand tall, raise their heads, spread their shoulders, and take giant strides in an ecosystem that was once alien to them,” he said.

Keynote speaker , John Paul Nwobodo, who is an industry investment analyst with Adaverse, spoke about the monumental impact of blockchain technology in a wide variety of industries. Using the banking industry as a point of reference, “According to the 2021 World Bank report, 66 percent of Nigerians are unbanked, and the banked are being recycled by existing financial services providers. The cost of cross-border remittance is very high and using blockchain can help reduce these numbers, making cross-border remittances cheaper and defying geographical barriers.”

The company’s chief Technology officer (CTO) Eval Esege presented SmartAfri Labs and took the audience on an experiential journey of what it does, how it works, and its many bundled benefits. “SmartAfri Labs was borne out of the need to create a blockchain ecosystem that represents African values and culture. We have set up a partnership opportunity available from today to allow those who resonate with our vision to join us on this journey.”

The launch had in attendance, representatives from the National Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA), the Nigerian Computing Society (NCS), Adverse, the blockchain community, and the private sector.

Chris Ebosie, Group General Manager at Uniccon, closed the event with a vote of thanks to appreciate the management, staff, consultants, speaker,  guests, press and everyone who contributed to the success of the event. A larger number of the audience joined virtually via YouTube, Zoom, Instagram, Twitter, and Discord.


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