World Bank to Support Blockchain Bonds Trial in Kenya

Stan Higgins
May 2, 2017 at 10:00 UTC
NEWS

The World Bank has revealed plans to explore how blockchain technology could help boost Kenya's financial prospects.

According to a new report, the World Bank is seeking to provide follow-up research to support a mobile phone-based bond issuance dubbed 'M-Akiba' through which the African country's government has so far raised $1.1m.

Kenya's government plans to sell roughly $47m in similar products, and is reportedly considering how blockchain could improve the issuance process.

The World Bank said in the report:

"The project's development objective is to strengthen the legal, regulatory and institutional environment for improved financial stability, access to and provision of, affordable and long term financing."

Bond issuance is a use case that has attracted interest from a number of major financials in the past year and a half, including Australia's Commonwealth Bank, which has tested a prototype concept with a provincial treasury service.

Yet, the World Bank's work technically hasn't begun yet, as it is waiting for the country’s Public Debt Management Office (PDMO) (which oversees the country’s public-sector debt) to approve the effort.

As the report notes:

"The team has proposed to support them with market research on ... assessing the use of fintech technology, particularly distributed ledger –Blockchain to simplify the platforms backing the system. The research is already planned ... and is awaiting the approval of the PDMO."

The World Bank is working with several other government agencies, including the Capital Markets Authority and the Central Depository & Settlement Corporation (Kenya's central securities depository) as part of its capital markets work.

The international financial institution has been actively working to improve Kenya's financial system since 2015, backed by $37m in funding. Founded in the mid-1940s, the World Bank acts as an international public-sector lender, with the stated objective of reducing global poverty.

World bank logo image via Shutterstock

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