The Red Cross has launched a blockchain-based payment system to help communities in African countries suffering from lack of money. This project includes the Red Cross of Norway, Denmark and Kenya, which have launched the two-year programme.
The initiative was created to counter the lack of money in Kenya. In the poor and rural part of this country, residents find it difficult to sell their products and services because people do not have enough money. This inevitably leads to a contraction in supply. In some cases, this need is met by bartering, tracing the transaction on pieces of paper.
The Red Cross project fits into this context and aims to spend a million dollars a year, distributed through vouchers. The credits would be transferred by mobile phone and automatically registered on the blockchain. The villagers would then be paid for the works, services and products sold, and then be able to spend the revenue and circulate the economy.
The system is currently being tested in Kenya and Ethiopia but the Red Cross would like to implement it in other areas of Malawi, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Papua New Guinea, with the aim of reaching 320,000 users in two years.
At the moment, where it has been tested, the Red Cross blockchain-based payment system has led to a revival of the local economy. Thus, it was a success and can be considered a small revolution.
Paula Gil, consultant to the Geneva Red Cross, explained to the Thomson Reuters Foundation:
“This is the future, probably the only true use of blockchain for good”.
Africa, blockchain and economic growth
The Red Cross project is not the only one in Africa. The singer Akon has long since started his initiative to support local entrepreneurs through an ecosystem based on the crypto Akoin.
The UN is also making its contribution with the launch of a programme dedicated to food logistics with blockchain traceability, first tested in the Middle East and now in East Africa.