Gov't promises support as Blockchain Association of Uganda changes leadership

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Gov't promises support as Blockchain Association of Uganda changes leadership
Outgoing BAU chairman Kwame Rugunda hands over to the incoming chairman Reginald Tumusiime.

The Blockchain Association of Uganda (BAU) has  ushered in new leadership, just over six years after its establishment; welcoming Reginald Tumusiime as its new chairman.

Mr Tumusiime is taking over from Kwame Rugunda, the founding chairman, who has steered the association since its inception in 2018.

BAU an industry body comprising professionals working with blockchain technology, has been at the forefront of defining Uganda’s blockchain agenda. With several milestones and learning lessons over the years, the association has made its mark and pushed Uganda to become a reference nation in Africa on matters of blockchain technology.

At the handover dinner held at the Four Points Sheraton in Kampala, Mr Rugunda reflected on the association's journey, the hurdles it has faced as well as its triumphs.

He noted that when they started the association in 2018, Blockchain was hardly understood in Uganda.

“That was the time when there was an onslaught of scams, and so we organised ourselves in order to defend the industry, guide the public and ensure correct understanding. With the support of the Central Bank and other stakeholders, we held Africa’s largest blockchain conference and received support from the President which gave credibility to the work that was being done,” he recounted.

The association since then, Rugunda said, was able to do a lot of work to demystify blockchain, which is now being used by key Government agencies like UCC as well as key private sector players such as Nile Breweries, among others.

Rugunda emphasised to the incoming leadership the importance of working closely with government agencies such as the BOU, the Capital Markets Authority and the Financial Intelligence Authority in order to quickly create the right environment for innovators and entrepreneurs to thrive.

On his part, the new association chairman, Mr Tumusiime hailed Rugunda and the outgoing team for providing a firm foundation on which they will build the industry.

Tumusiime promised to among others foster collaboration to expand the pertinency of the association.

“We think that the next phase of our growth will be primed by the number of stakeholders that we work with,” he said.

The new chairman also announced plans to transform BAU into an emerging technologies association, noting; “We believe that beyond blockchain, there are other new technologies in big data, robotics and others, and there are young people out there that are innovative but need support and mentorship,” he said.

Speaking as chief guest at the office handover, Ms Josephine Okui Ossiya the CEO of the Capital Markets Authority commended the outgoing BAU leadership under Mr Rugunda for “staying the course” and steering Blockchain technology in Uganda to a point where it has become transformative in key areas such as finance and healthcare.

Ossiya reiterated her agency's commitment to supporting the association in foster innovation

“We are going to create a regulatory sandbox where you can come and try your products and help us understand them, and if there are risks we can find ways of mitigating them,” She said.

Mr Tumusiime, the new BAU chairman will be deputised by Ms. Edline Murungi while other members include Mr Sulaiman Murunga and Mr Daniel Mulondo

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