Barclays embarks on digital evolution challenge

Barclays Africa Group Ltd has launched the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge, the first of several initiatives being driven into Africa with the aims of sparking ideas to drive the digital evolution on the continent.

The announcement follows hot on the heels of the global launch of the Barclays Rise Innovation programme, which is a global community for open innovation, designed to pioneer the future of financial services.

Traditional providers of financial services are being disrupted by new technologies, agile companies and innovative product. Barclays is responding by partnering and collaborating with the innovators and entrepreneurs who drive disruption.

It is with this ideology in mind that Barclays Africa is will be plugging start-ups, corporates and innovators into a physical and digital global network with the aims of co-innovating the ‘next big thing’ in financial services.

This is according to Stephen van Coller, Chief Executive of Corporate and Investment Banking at Barclays Africa, who announced the challenge today in Nairobi and says the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge is about supply chain transparency.

“The supply chain, the journey of a product from manufacturer to consumer is often disjointed and inefficient and there is currently a huge amount of interest in finding ways to increase the transparency of provenance, not least of which is the use of Blockchain technology.”

“Blockchain and similar technologies have substantial potential in creating transparency about the series of transactions that occur along any supply chain process,” he says.

Transparency has become increasingly important for supply chains as consumers want to know where the goods they are purchasing actually come from.  Food and diamonds are some of the items that require all supply chain participants to ensure traceability of goods.

“One example of innovation that addresses the latter comes out of our London-based innovation hub,” says van Coller. “It’s called EverLedger and empowers financial institutions and consumers in tracking the movement of diamonds through the supply chain. The solution is a permanent ledger for diamond certification and related transaction history that simplifies verification for insurance companies, owners, claimants and law enforcement.”

To participate in the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge visit – a new digital platform for open innovation in fintech, providing advanced resources and capabilities to connect, shape and scale.

The challenge criteria are as follows:

  1. Entrants are challenged to propose a solution that creates more transparency between seller and buyer, through the supply chain.
  2. Entrants are encouraged to use Blockchain, Distributed Ledger or any other technology that will do the job.
  3. The challenge is open to individuals, teams and start-ups.
  4. Entrants should be aged between 18 and 35 years.
  5. Entrants must be based in Africa.
  6. Entrants can be suited to any industry, including textiles, mining, finance, food, water and more.
  7. There is a $10 000 prize for the overall winner.
  8. One member from each finalist team will be invited to pitch to a panel of renowned experts in Cape Town, South Africa on 3 November 2015.
  9. Entries open on 24 July and close on 18 September 2015.

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