Swiss firm to pilot digital currency in Rwanda

A Swiss cyber-security firm has announced intentions to roll out block chain technology in the country which could see use of digital currencies in Rwanda and the region.

Block chain is a digital currency which facilitates secure online transactions, using a decentralised digital register that records transactions across many computers in such a way that the registered transactions cannot be altered retroactively.

The technology is one of the aspects of the 4th Industrial Revolution and allows for transfers and transactions that are inexpensive compared to other money transfer.

The firm, WISeKey International Holding Ltd, announced intentions to establish a BlockChain Centre of Excellence in Rwanda that will serve the Smart Africa Alliance member countries.

The Centre will serve to enable the creation of a Blockchain Ecosystem in Rwanda and is part of the broader Smart Africa initiative with 17 countries already on board and embracing the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The 17 countries that are part of the Smart Africa Initiative represent a market of about 360 million people.

The partnership between Rwanda and the Swiss firm aims at positioning the country as a key player providing access to policy, technical and business expertise.

According to the terms of agreement, the firm will work in cooperation with local companies in developing an ecosystem conducive for partners involved in developing the concept.

Carlos Moreira, the Founder and chief Executive of WISeKey, said that the service hub will provide benefits across multiple industries and encourage technological developments that can serve the continent.

“Rwanda and its government are to be commended for their vision and action to establish the country as one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world. We strongly believe that the Blockchain Center of Excellence will enable dramatic increases in business volume and efficiencies. Establishing Rwanda as a Blockchain service hub will provide benefits across many industries and encourage technological developments that can serve the continent,” he said.

Minister for Youth and ICT Jean Philbert Nsengimana said the development is in line with the nation’s vision to leverage ICT for the country’s transformation and growth and to ensure gains for citizens.

“To succeed in making African homes, offices, schools and cities smart, we have to harness opportunities in exponential technologies. These technologies include artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, big data, internet of things (IoT), Blockchain, and 3D printing,” he said.

“This initiative is in line with President Paul Kagame’s vision to leverage information and communication technologies for transformation and growth, while ensuring wins and gains for citizens,” he said.

The development comes at a time when Rwanda is working to roll out multiple technologies and initiatives to facilitate financial inclusion.

These include innovations in money transfers and cashless payments among others.