The East African Community has continued to show optimism in developing emerging disruptive technologies including blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT).
Now, the Republic of Rwanda has allocated part of the next financial year’s budget to the information and communication technology (ICT) department to develop and support blockchain projects. Blockchain is the underlying tool behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
This mega effort has been put in the “Emerging Technology Policy and Strategy” under the country’s Ministry of Information and Communication Tech and Innovation. The plan has been designed as a great leverage to the groundbreaking industrial revolution techs like big data, robotics, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence (AI), DLT and blockchain, etc.
This strategy was officially unveiled on Wednesday December 11, 2019, by the technology enthusiast who also serves as Minister of ICT and Innovation, Hon. Paula Ingabire, in a special monthly meeting that is normally carried out to exchange ideas with experts from the Rwanda Blockchain Community. The minister revealed that the government is willing to support blockchain and other large number of fourth industrial revolution techs.
When asked about her plans on digital assets, however, she decided not to reveal anything on whether she is going to work with the ministry of finance to allow Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies to circulate the economic and finance industry as an alternative payment means. But she disclosed that the government is keen to relax rules and regulations on technology startups. She is positive that in the near future blockchain will transform many important sectors including healthcare, tourism, land registration, agriculture, value transfer, supply chain, art and fashion, transport and logistics, finance and the rest.
Supporting and hastening the development of futuristic technologies including DLT will significantly boost the region’s objectives of becoming a hub for technology and innovations just like Malta, the United States, South Korea and other developed countries.
It is now over a year, the central bank and RURA -Rwanda Utility and Regulatory Authority – has been trying to create a sandbox infrastructure around DLT to pilot this embryonic tech.
The country officially unveiled the globe’s first DLT initiative to trace and track tantalum straightaway from the mines (pit-face and mine-face) to the refinery in order to prevent counterfeits and increase the confidence of investors willing to invest in the nation, as Coinidol reported in 2018. So far, there are a wide number of blockchain projects in Rwanda including SPEN, a mobile banking app which allows nationals to carry out a variety of monetary transactions.