Kiva, a non-profit company based in San Francisco, has partnered with the Sierra Leone government to launch a blockchain platform for credit history registration. According to their announcement, Kiva and Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio officially launched the new system on August 21 in Freetown.
Reportedly, the blockchain initiative will use biometric data collected by the government to print the identity cards of voters. This data, for example, fingerprints will be used to access the credit history of citizens. Ideally, this project will help lenders access the credit history of borrowers.
Kiva is a company that finances loans for financial inclusions in 80 countries worldwide. However, Sierra Leone will be the first country to implement its blockchain-based online credit system. Biography declared:
This visionary step here today guarantees that Sierra Leone is not excluded from … the global digital economy.
Reportedly, the government wants the blockchain-based system to be adopted by both macro and micro-financial institutions in the country. This new platform will bring numerous advantages, including the elimination of fakes and the falsification of identification documents such as driving licenses. In addition to facilitating the verification of documents necessary for credit purposes, the number of citizens who can access financial services will also increase.
According to reports, many, particularly the Sierra Leoneans without a bank, are very excited about this project. Safiatu Mariama Bangura, a resident who runs a rice restaurant, said this:
It is very difficult to do business because we do not have a bank account or any way to get loans. [The program] it would help us, because my mother doesn't even know how to sign her name – she only knows how to use her fingerprint.
Despite the many advantages, the program will have to face various changes. One of the biggest challenges would be that the platform requires the use of smartphones and the Internet. According to the Ministry of Information, many will not access these services because less than 15 percent of people in Sierra Leone have Internet access.
This program started last year, after Kiva, the United Nations and the Sierra Leone government formed a partnership to launch a blockchain-based identification system. Reportedly, the program had to be implemented this year.
During the announcement, Xavier Michon, of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), said: "Through this implementation, Sierra Leone is working to build one of the most advanced and secure credit offices. It could serve as a model for developing nations and those developed in the future. "
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