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Sierra Leone to launch National blockchain Identification system1 minute read

The new project has strengthened the country’s blockchain technology, which had been used to carry out presidential elections in 2018

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Sierra Leone to launch National blockchain Identification system
Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio. (Photo by Sia KAMBOU / AFP)

The Government of Sierra Leone plans to fully adopt a blockchain-based national identity system by the end of 2019.

The new project has strengthened the country’s blockchain technology, which had been used to carry out presidential elections in 2018.

In partnership with the United Nations, Sierra Leonean President, Julius Maada Bio, says the new infrastructure will allow financial institutions to verify identities and create credit histories for their customers.

The new project, called the National Digital Identity Platform (NDIP), is a collaboration between the United Nations (UN) and the non-profit, Kiva, a key technology partner based in San Francisco and Sierra Leone since September.

According to the report, the NDIP will be implemented in two main phases. The first relates to the digitization of identity.

The second should be completed by the end of the year and involve the creation of non-repeatable, non-reusable and generally recognized national identification numbers.

The president said access to blockchain’s financial and credit facilities could significantly improve the lives of citizens of the country and make them more economically resilient. He said the new national identification system “directly translates into citizens who have access to affordable credit for business investment.”

President Maada Bio emphasizes the platform’s high-security standards, stating that each resident’s data will be stored with the national civil registry and kept strictly confidential, in accordance with international norms and practices.

He also notes that the platform’s ability to write new data modification records is one of the key advantages of implementing blockchain technology. With elections and digital identity, blockchain will become a multisectoral solution in Sierra Leone, with more than 85 per cent of the population having no access to the internet and at least 75 per cent having no bank accounts.

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Uganda approves return of over 2,500 nationals stranded abroad

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Over 2,500 Ugandan nationals stranded abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic can now return home as approved by the Ugandan cabinet.

The cabinet on Monday, agreed that Ugandan nationals trapped in 66 countries can return home at their own cost.

The government is making arrangements with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to fly the stranded citizens home, Judith Nabakooba, the country’s minister for information, communication technology and national guidance says, adding that all the returning citizens will have to undergo a 14-day mandatory institutional quarantine. 

President Yoweri Museveni last month, directed Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to study the possibility of evacuating dozens of citizens stranded abroad amid Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions. 

To contain the spread of Covid-19, the country on March 22 suspended all incoming flights, except cargo flights. 

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Border closure hurts Tanzania’s horticultural exports

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A border closure between Tanzania and Kenya has hit Dar es Salaam’s horticulture sector due to long delays at the crossing for fresh produce truckers, resulting in a disruption of the supply chain.

Horticulture is one of Tanzania’s economic pillars.

This past week, Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA) Chief Executive, Jacqueline Mkindi asked the governments of Tanzania and Kenya to resolve the border issue for the sake of an already struggling exports industry.

Most of Tanzania’s horticulture produce is exported through Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). “If this tug of war continues, we’ll be the first to suffer as we still rely on JKIA and the port in Mombasa to export crops whose routes are not open from Tanzania,” Mkindi adds. “Our government has all along been considerate to horticulture. We advise it to embark on economic negotiations with Kenya to allow cargo to continue crossing borders smoothly.”

After an international aviation halt, the TAHA signed a deal with Ethiopian Airlines.

Despite the deal with Ethiopian Airlines to ferry fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers to global markets from Kilimanjaro International Airport, the airline has still not been granted long-term landing permits.

Currently, TAHA has to apply for a landing warrant for every incoming flight at routine airport charges and has to attach backup documents each time.

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Ethiopia to divest 40% of Ethio Telecom

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The Ethiopian government is finalizing plans to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom- the country’s sole telecommunication provider . The plan was announced by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina.

Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry is considered one of the last closed markets. It has been one of the government’s plans to liberalize the country’s economy launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethio Telecom has a large market serving a population of around 110 million.

The government will retain ownership of the remaining 60 percent.

Foreign firms in the telecom sector will be invited to bid and a percentage of the minority stake will be sold to Ethiopian citizens. South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom have shown interest in expanding into Ethiopia in the past.

Ethiopia’s communications regulator says the country would proceed with the privatisation of the telecommunications sector despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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