Uganda-based crypto company CryptoSavannah, on June 29, said it has partnered with Coinbase Giving and Mercy Corps Venture to build blockchain-based solutions to provide financial empowerment for refugees and host communities in the East African country.
- Coinbase Giving is an initiative of the American crypto exchange Coinbase, which gives 1% of the company’s profits, equity and employee time to philanthropic work to increase economic freedom around the globe.
- Mercy Corps Venture is the impact investing arm of Mercy Corps, the NGO that provides humanitarian help in distressed regions of the world.
- As part of the part partnership, CryptoSavannah will lunch two pilot projects.
- First is a blockchain-based digital ID system that will digitize the already existing refugee identities.
- Refugees in Uganda must present an ID before obtaining SIM cards and mobile money services. But there’s usually a delay in ID verification between mobile network operators and humanitarian organizations, according to a CryptoSavannah blog post.
- The company hopes to build a scalable digital ID system that will support real-time verifications.
- The second pilot program would see the launch of crypto-based funds disbursements.
- Building on the digital identity system created, CryptoSavannah will issue the participants digital wallets to receive, store and spend funds in crypto.
- Crypto-based funds disbursement can reduce “diversion, corruption and fraud,” providing donors and aid organizations with “greater transparency” on the flow of funds, the Ugandan company said in the blog post.
- Pilot participants will be able to convert their crypto funds to fiat at select cash-out points or spend at participating stores.
- Uganda currently hosts over 1.53 million refugees, according to data at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) portal. UNHCR is the United Nation’s refugee agency.
- Uganda is one of the top 10 countries that receive the most refugees.
- The country’s policies towards refugees have been praised as progressive.
- Refugees in Uganda have the right to work and freedom of movement, thanks to the country’s 2006 Refugee Act and 2010 Refugee Regulations, which created a robust legal and regulatory system for refugee rights.
- However, the East African country’s refugee-hosting efforts are underfunded. As of May 2022, the Uganda Refugee Response Plan for 2020 to 2021 had a 51% gap.