Blockchain for Land Registries

Blockchain, the technology developed for cryptocurrency finds its way into the field of governance. Opportunities to apply this decentralised, secure technology, are promising in e-voting, municipal finance, real estate transfers and land registries. This technology for land registries is piloted in Sweden, the Netherlands and India and discussed in Ghana and Kenya among others. Blockchain technology offers access to up to date encrypted data by many stakeholders, without being vulnerable to hacking. Instead of having a central server, blockchain disperses the encrypted data or the ledger of a process in a chain of blocks at different interconnected locations. In developing and emerging economies blockchain can offer a more transparent technology to avoid painstaking land registry processes and fake deeds that are common in places without a cadaster. According to the World Bank only 30% of the land is being registered. The market for this upcoming technology for land registry is big, but so is the challenge. Firstly there is the complexity of legal frameworks related to land and real estate that will not allow transfers to happen in digitial space with digital signatures only. Secondly the technology requires a blockchain protocol, smart tokens for land parcels, capacities of the parties involved – the agent, the banks, the seller and the buyer. Developing smart tokens for a city where no or limited has been been registered yet is already an immense task in itself. Blockchain technology offers many opportunities within the urban governance fields, but as always it is not a silver bullet, it requires a combination of new technology, data collection, policymaking, capacity building and stakeholder involvement to succeed.

Sources and links:
https://www.economist.com/news/business/21722869-anti-establishment-technology-faces-ironic-turn-fortune-governments-may-be-big-backers
http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/land
https://www.ft.com/content/60f838ea-e514-11e7-8b99-0191e45377ec
Picture: Stockholm, Magnus Johansson, Creative Commons

Private Equity for Urban Services


One of the key drivers of growth and development in emerging markets is the private sector. Urbanisation comes with a growing private sector of SMEs and private firms providing services to the general public, industries and the public sector. Capital investment is key in these emerging urban economies and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group has committed major investments in “diverse sectors of the Kenyan economy”. “Kenyan firms are increasingly taking debt and equity investments from the IFC and other global financiers, including European Investment Bank (EIB), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Proparco and DEG to compensate for the limited funding opportunities in local capital markets.” According to Business Daily the global fund’s latest investment commitments include a Sh15.2 billion loan to Co-op Bank and a Sh2.7 billion debt and equity investment in a hospital to be built on Nairobi’s Kiambu Road. The financier says it intends to provide $22 million (Sh2.2 billion) in equity and $5 million (Sh505 million) in debt to an investment vehicle that is building the hospital. Owners of the hospital have acquired three acres on Kiambu Road for the facility.
Source: Businessdaily
Footage: Rogier van den Berg