Kiva, a non-profit organization that claims to make it possible for people to lend money to low-income entrepreneurs and students in various countries, has launched a blockchain-based credit database in Sierra Leone, to enable residents to easily prove their credit history and secure loans, reports Reuters on August 21, 2019.
Kiva Making Life Easier with DLT
In a bid to make it easier for millions of unbanked Sierra Leoneans to get their credit history verified by lenders and enable them to obtain loans, Kiva has launched a distributed ledger technology (DLT) powered credit database in the nation.
Per sources close to the matter, the Kiva team and President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio who was present at the official launch, firmly believe that the solution will foster financial inclusivity by bringing over three-quarters of the nation’s citizens into the financial system.
The team says the blockchain-based credit history database allows lenders to quickly verify the credit histories of Sierra Leoneans using their fingerprint and other biometrics data already in the government’s database.
Commenting on the launch of the innovative solution, Safiatu Mariama Bangura, a young woman who sells food in a makeshift restaurant made with an aluminum shack, noted that the new system will give their business a significant boost since they can now get loans to run it. She stated:
“It’s difficult to do business because we don’t have a bank account or any way of obtaining loans. The program would benefit us because my mother doesn’t know how to sign her name, she only knows how to use her fingerprint.”
How it Works
Reportedly, prospective users of the system will be provided with a digital wallet which can be accessed through a mobile app and all transactions will be stored on a distributed ledger to ensure transaction records, as well as user information, are tamper-proof.
Despite the fact that only 15 percent of Sierra Leoneans have access to the internet, the team plans to overcome this challenge by using mi-fi devices that can connect to the internet through phone networks.
If all goes as planned, the government says it will get all financial institutions in the state to adopt the system by the end of 2019.
President Bio said:
“This visionary step here today guarantees that Sierra Leoneans are not excluded from the global digital economy.”