A Swiss-based company, Wisekey International holdings, issued a statement of its intention to collaborate with Microsoft and pilot Rwanda’s blockchain project for land registry.
TechInAfrica – Wisekey is a Cybersecurity company that operates digital information security. Blockchain is a digital ledger that allows transactions made in digital currency and secure recording of data. It protects records from malicious tampering and editing.
The Rwandan government is on a mission for digital transformation and hence the initiative to adopt this groundbreaking blockchain technology. The goal of the project is to bridge the government and the private sector by providing a platform to share data across industries, ensure transparency and auditable value exchange.
The first phase will be in digitizing the land registry by using Wisekey’s suite of mobile application.
The applications will store land registration data and enable validation and verification of assets. The technology will the roll out to other business sectors of the country. Microsoft plays the role of ensuring that all the data stored is private and secure. Many developing countries have grappled issues relating to ownership of land and property due to poor land administration systems. Land administration systems are key in determining and administering land rights but unfortunately, most countries in Africa still use systems they inherited since independence. Due to poor documentation of title registries, cases of land grabbing, corruption, and unfair administration are very common.
Blockchain promises to improve these systems by providing clear, transparent, verifiable records of data. Rwanda is part of 17 countries in smart Africa, which is an initiative towards industrial revolution in Africa. Kenya, a neighboring East African country to the north of Rwanda, revealed a partnership with IBM to incorporate its public records in blockchain. The records in the blockchain will also include academic documents ensuring that no one can fake the documents. The blockchain project is progressive in nature and seeks to revolutionize the ICT sector in most countries but it however faces setbacks in the political sphere. Blockchains in real essence are meant to change how the government serves its people and hence can only be part of the solution. The technology cannot change corrupt leaders who sometimes tamper with registry results or general public data for their own self-interests.
The evolution comes at a time when Rwanda and other African countries are launching several innovative initiatives. It is nonetheless up to national leaders to ensure the success of this innovations.