The World Bank has announced plans to examine the potential of blockchain technology in helping economic development in Kenya.
Its plans for a research project follow on from the development of a bonds issuance platform, which takes the form of a mobile app, known as M-Akiba.
The Kenyan government has so far been able to raise $1.1 million through the platform, with plans to raise a further $47 million through similar schemes.
They envisage the blockchain could be instrumental in streamlining the process, which could make it more straightforward for the government to raise money through the platform.
In supporting the project’s aims, the World Bank said it will contribute development expertise and understanding in helping to establish a blockchain-based mechanism for bonds issuance.
"The project's development objective is to strengthen the legal, regulatory and institutional environment for improved financial stability, access to and provision of, affordable and long term financing....The team has proposed to support them with market research on ... assessing the use of fintech technology, particularly distributed ledger – Blockchain to simplify the platforms backing the system. The research is already planned ... and is awaiting the approval of the PDMO.”
The blockchain has a number of envisioned use cases in international development. Recently, a blockchain trial for aid distribution to refugees in Jordan has been labeled a tentative success, with trials spanning 10,000 individuals within the country.
Now with plans to roll that particular scheme across Jordan’s refugee population, it is being welcomed as a significant boost to the aid effort there.
While the context is different, the use of blockchain technology in facilitating a more streamlined bond issuing process for the Kenyan government could have profound implications for the state, and the local economy there.
Bolstered by project funding of $37 million, the World Bank will be assisting the Capital Markets Authority and the Central Depository and Settlement Corporation in Kenya as they seek to leverage these opportunities on the blockchain.
The project will begin when local government approval has been granted, with Kenya’s Public Debt Management Office ultimately responsible for giving the project the green light.