Digital Money and the Economy: Makerere Law School to host first public dialogue

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On Friday 28th February, 2020, Makerere School of Law’s newly established Centre For Law and Emerging Technologies(CLET) will host for the first time a public dialogue running under the theme “Digital Money and Uganda’s Economy: The facts and Issues”.

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This comes at a time when digital currency has reached a pinnacle in replacing traditional money. In fact several western countries have embraced the same.

Digital currency is a type of currency available in digital form in contrast to physical currency such as banknotes and coins. It allows instantaneous transactions and borderless transfer-of-ownership.

Examples include virtual currencies, cryptocurrencies, and central bank digital currency.

These currencies may be used to buy physical goods and services, but may also be restricted to certain communities.

Digital currency is a money balance recorded electronically on a stored-value card or other devices.

Digital money can either be centralized, where there is a central point of control over the money supply, or decentralized, where the control over the money supply can come from various sources.

Prominent people in the country like Dr. James Magara have formerly argued that for Africa to catch up with the rest of the world, it needs some sort of unusual change in dynamics.

Dr. Magara alludes to the invent of mobile phones in the 70s which did a great deal in covering the disconnect.

“Many Africans now have the luxury of holding the entire globe in their hand! Unfortunately for us, the world has since moved so if anything a craving for some other miracle is on”, he says.

The question that is lingering around is whether Uganda, poor as it is, is ready for the digital currency?

It has been argued that Uganda has failed to fully adopt to the traditional currency as figures indicate that 60% of Ugandans are bystanders in their own economy.

Therefore what are the odds that Uganda is ready to embrace digital currency?

Also, another question is whether the Country’s legal framework is sufficient to address the new feature of the economy.

Mr. Robert Kirunda (one of the founders of CLET), told The Legal Reports that the event will contextualize the discussion on digital forms of money and it’s impact on the economy.

“A lot of the discussion has been centered around Ponzi schemes/scams disguised as crypto currency investments. But these are not the same. Crypto is only one form of digital money. The panel comprising of government, policy and industry experts should guide us broadly along these lines,”  He said.

Mr. Kirunda also noted that Uganda has made great progress compared to many other countries in preparation for the new digital money era.

As a law practitioner and law lecturer, he believes that it is now inevitable to have law reforms to cater for the new era.

He believes that law reforms will come and law schools will need to adapt and that this is the gap that CLET intends to contribute to filling.

The keynote speaker at the event will be Hon. David Bahati who is the state minister for finance in charge of planning.

Hon Bahati is expected to provide the audience with the key aspects of digital money forms and their importance to us locally, from a government perspective.

Other speakers at the event will be Mr. Vincent Bagiire who is the permanent secretary Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Twinemanzi Tumubweine, ED(supervision), Bank of Uganda, Noah Baalessanvu, Director Strategy, CryptoSavannah and Ms. Gloria Matovu Kawooya, partner, MMAKS Advocates.

The event will take place in the Lower Auditorium at Makerere School of Law and will start at 2pm to 5pm.

It will be moderated by Mr Kwame Rugunda who is the Chairman of Blockchain Association of Uganda.

The public dialogue is one of the many things the Centre for law and Emerging Technologies(CLET) is planning to do.

About CLET

CLET was founded last year at Makerere School of Law by Mr. Robert Kirunda, Ms. Hadijah Namyalo and Ms. Grancia Mugalula.

Two of the Center’s broad goals are to bring experiential learning about law, technology and society to the Law School and give students a fresh way to understand how the three intersect, and to offer legal and policy solutions on the responsible adoption of 4IR technologies in Uganda.

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