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From Global Trade Review (GTR) | By Finbarr Bermingham
Electronic certificates of origin (eCOs) will be issued on the blockchain in Kenya, in a move that will modernise a key part of the country’s trade facilitation processes.
Fintech company vCargo Cloud (VCC) is to work with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) to implement a blockchain-based solution that it launched in May in Singapore.
eCOs are export documents that certify the country of manufacture of a shipment. They are required by customs, banks and traders to verify goods and are commonly among the documents used in a trade finance transaction.
The solution allows for the instant, digital capture and processing of eCOs. They will be embedded on the blockchain and stored in a private ledger, where customs, banks or any other parties to the trade cycle can access them.
VCC CEO Desmond Tay tells GTR that the solution will be tweaked slightly to the specifications of the KNCCI, but that it is essentially the same as the one being used in Singapore.
“After the success in Singapore, we have been trying to bring the blockchain eCO solution to other places around the world. We are in discussions with a few chambers in Africa and Southeast Asia and expect to see further expansion soon,” he says.
VCC has an office in Nairobi, and so launching in Kenya was a logical next step, Tay says. The company is also in talks with chambers in Sri Lanka, Japan, Myanmar, as well as numerous countries in East Africa about rolling out the platform there.
Numerous other companies have begun launching blockchain-based solutions for trade in Africa. IBM is rolling out a supply chain finance platform that uses machine learning and blockchain to extend micro-loans to small businesses there.
Meanwhile, Block Commodities and Wala, a trader and a fintech platform respectively, have combined to launch a cryptocurrency commodity financing solution, providing US$10mn-worth of loans to 50,000 smallholder farmers in Africa.
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