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Women-led SMEs leverage blockchain to connect MENA and sub-Saharan Africa | Notice

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Over the past decade, global interest in women-led and women-owned businesses has grown, leading to strong community development movements and the creation of innovative solutions for this growing market.

Despite the existence of solutions, cross-border trade remains a significant challenge for women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Middle East and North Africa, MENA and sub-Saharan Africa. This challenge significantly limits their ability to transact with each other and the rest of the world, despite their many shared cultural values.

Blockchain technology is an emerging infrastructure with great promise for geographically proximate but economically disconnected women entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurs in MENA and sub-Saharan Africa are among those who stand to benefit the most from emerging technologies. However, they face economic challenges that limit their empowerment and hinder their access to international markets. Inefficiencies, limited access to finance, high costs, lack of transparency, unfavorable regulations and cultural barriers all create obstacles for women-led SMEs in the region.

Blockchain has the potential to significantly transform the financial sector and facilitate the inclusion of women transacting across borders. Using blockchain-based payment systems removes trade barriers and businesses can access new markets and customers. This allows businesses to instantly repatriate their profits.

This technology allows women-led businesses to convert real-world assets into on-chain assets that they have full control over and can trade as they wish. This solution gives them financial independence, often denied to many people in this part of the world. This economic freedom is a critical catalyst for positive socio-economic changes to come.

One of the most innovative and upcoming applications of blockchain technology is its combination with AI to solve real-world problems. At Boom, we are an example of this integration, as we use decentralized AI to provide businesses with access to credit by generating credit scores. These credit scores will be shared with financial institutions, allowing women-led SMEs to access the loans and capital they need to grow and expand their businesses.

Blockchain technology is considered an infrastructure technology and its adoption by the global economic model is no longer in doubt. With the introduction of Bitcoin ETFs and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), it is clear that the technology is here to stay. Blockchain-based ecosystems are driving significant changes in the business landscape between the MENA and sub-Saharan regions, offering a comprehensive range of solutions that address the daily challenges faced by cross-border commerce and unbanked situations.

Addressing the high costs of information and communications technology (ICT), lack of reliable internet access, and the technology gender gap are critical to ensuring that women entrepreneurs are fully included and participate in the blockchain ecosystem. Providing digital literacy and ICT training can help women entrepreneurs develop the skills needed to overcome these challenges and succeed in the digital world. Additionally, these challenges can also create opportunities for collaboration and innovation to support women-led small and medium-sized businesses.

To drive successful blockchain implementation among women entrepreneurs, technology companies must collaborate closely with various holding countries, government agencies, financial institutions, and NGOs. They must create a favorable regulatory environment and directly support SMEs by offering them training and education programs as well as financial envelopes for equipment.

Blockchain technology is crucial to the future success of women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the MENA and African regions. This relationship between blockchain and women is growing stronger and more promising every day, and both parties must work together to succeed. Women play a vital role in the adoption of technology within households and will undoubtedly help bring blockchain to the mainstream.

Naomi Whitney

Naomi Whitney

Naomi Whitney, Chief Product Officer at Boom, is a multi-talented executive who combines her liberal arts mindset with technology. She is driven by a relentless pursuit of excellence, customer success and a strong commitment to altruism. She brings a unique blend of expertise from her tenure in the luxury beauty industry to her innovative work in the crypto sector.

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