1. You’ve been recognized as the Top 10 Woman in Blockchain in Africa 2020. What’s the secret of your success?
There is really no major secret. Hard work, believing in yourself, your vision, and knowing your value can be very powerful things. I think if you have a growth mindset, even when challenges present themselves you know how to deal with them. Success really comes in different formats and varies from one person to the other but I do feel extremely successful being recognized as a thought leader in a space that really only a few truly understand and few women are present. I want to see way more women in Blockchain and we are working to solve the divide.
2. You’ve been involved in the Blockchain space ever since 2010. What made you believe in its potential as a driving force for the economy?
Yes, my belief in Blockchain really goes way back when I can remember talking about it and many simply thought I was completely crazy!! The belief really came from the recognition that many social systems and processes were broken, at the time there were challenges especially following the onset of the financial crisis when the trust was totally broken and it was difficult to see where accountability sat. I understood that we really needed to build trust and transparency and this thing called blockchain or as I first knew of it DLT could somehow help with tracking, transparency, and with this possibility for trust to be rebuilt. There was a potential alternative! The chances that this alternative presented in creating trust again made me believe and invest in knowing more about it.
3. Many sectors, including healthcare, education,… have taken a hit following the Covid-19 pandemic, how can Blockchain help restore some of the damage?
Covid has been absolutely brutal in all economies but the impacts will be felt for much longer in emerging and developing nations. With digitalization and Blockchain, there is an alternative and an opportunity to tackle some of these barriers. Digitizing documents, enabling the flow of data securely, and enabling efficient payments and tracking of goods in real-time can all be done through the use of blockchain and smart contract applications. Tracking and monitoring of vaccine production can also be done via blockchain to ensure an equitable share of vaccines which need to be deployed fast to many people around the world. Blockchain is not just about Bitcoin, far more than just a single store of value but with the potential to open up value chains and offer better authenticity, tracking, and provenance! Over 1.7 trillion dollars by 2030 is predicted to be generated through better tracking, trust from Blockchain.
4. During Africa Blockchain Week 2021, you particularly encouraged women to take part in the digital transformation of the economy. Why is it important for women to participate in this transformation?
Women must absolutely take part in the digital transformation journeys of their countries otherwise we will create an even bigger divide leaving many women unable to untap wealth and value from the new world of digital! Women must also be builders and not simply consumers of tech products made, some of these products have biases hindering women’s progress!! If women don’t know how to navigate this new digital economy then all our futures are very dark indeed. Women participating in this transformation means that we can build more sustainable economies where women a be equal players and contributors to GDP. This is why at Global Policy House we are training women in many of the emerging technology areas including blockchain.
5. It is often hard for women to access capital and finances, especially in Africa. What do you do at your level for women’s economic empowerment?
Women’s economic empowerment is a real focus area for us at Global Policy House as is equality and diversity. We are building tools to address this stigma and unfair access to financing. Exploring blockchain-based financing and other alternatives we intend to tackle this issue head-on to provide access to capital and finance to all women regardless of where you come from in the world. We are also lobbying and making the case with governments and regulators to place policy and regulatory measures to support more women. Through our capacity-building network, we are also training and educating women around financing, the digital economy, and much more. Our investments segment in the company also channels finance towards women.
6. What advice would you give to women who would like to pursue a career in tech?
Don’t wait, do it now, it’s the future and the future is now !! It might seem like a place not for you but tech is very liberating and is a wonderful avenue to be creative, innovative, and sustainable at the same time. Go with a growth mindset, be open try new things, and believe that you can achieve anything !!
About Michelle Chivunga:
Michelle Chivunga is well known for her work in Digital Transformation and Blockchain having engaged in the space since 2010. She has been recognized as the Top 10 Woman in Blockchain in Africa and one of the Top 40 Global Fintech4Good Fellows linked with the UN. Michelle now runs and owns one of few female-led black African-British Global Digital Economy and Blockchain companies in the UK- Global Policy House (GPH). GPH is the only ESG driven group focused on Blockchain and data for emerging and commonwealth markets, particularly women, youth, and ethnic minority groups.