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IBM Looks to Put Kenya’s Public Records on a Blockchain

Samburaj Das on 16/12/2016


Tech powerhouse and early blockchain developer IBM is reportedly in talks with the Kenyan government to put public records from various sectors on a blockchain.


According to regional publication Business Daily Africa, IBM is looking to transform public records’ management by introducing blockchain technology in the fields of health, education and real estate.


The Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communication is for the plan, noting that information stored over a public, immutable ledger will help curb fake academic certificates as well as fraudulent land transactions.


Speaking at the launch of a blockchain workshop at the Strathmore University of Nairobi, Nyimbi Odero, an innovation adviser at the ICT Ministry stated on Thursday:


   The government of Kenya, working with IBM, is currently implementing a blockchain-based education system so that if you’re a Kenyan student, you can’t fake your exam outcomes.


Notably, the Kenyan government is already running blockchain pilot programs and has been for the last three months. These pilots have been tracking educational records and have also been put to use to trace land transactions.


Land sales and records in Kenya could soon be found on a blockchain.


IBM East Africa chief Nicholas Nesbitt confirmed that the company’s association with the government over the blockchain project was at its early stages. Further, IBM is also looking to introduce further blockchain solutions for existing industries and sectors in the region.


Underlining the effort to introduce blockchain technology to public records, he stated:


   This is about bringing trust to untrusted networks. Where people are not sure about the validity of their title deeds, where people are not sure how many students are in school…that’s we see great capabilities with blockchain.


The Kenyan government’s blockchain embrace comes despite the warning issued by the country’s central bank against using virtual currencies like bitcoin, late least year.


The blockchain pilot for public applications in Africa comes soon after western African country Senegal was weighing up the possibility of becoming one of the first countries in the world to issue a blockchain-based national digital currency. The eCFA will be legal tender as the digital equivalent of the CFA Franc, the country and the region’s national currency. With no specific timeframe for a rollout, the eCFA will soon be adopted in other Western African countries including the likes of the Ivory Coast, Niger, Mali and Togo.

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