Crisis and support organizations are using the technology provided by blockchain in Africa to support refugees who have been displaced.
Ongoing conflict and persecution in African nations have resulted in 25 million refugees who have been forced to flee their homes and country. A further 43 million are believed to have been made homeless within their own countries as a result of violence and war.
While the world is focused on the growing refugee crisis in Europe, African nations are, in fact, taking in 80 percent of the overall number of refugees globally. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) says the refugee crisis is currently at its worst level in human history with estimates of over 65 million refugees worldwide.
How blockchain helps victims in Africa
When victims are forced to flee they often have no time to gather identity documents, resulting in delays and often detention at borders that can extend for months or even years. Ethiopia practices the most open door policy in Africa and currently hosts around 750,000 refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan.
Humanitarian organizations try their best to provide support for refugees and have now found ways to utilize the decentralized and incorruptible nature of blockchain technology to provide a means of identification. The use of digital identification could solve the problem of refugees being left stranded between borders.
The use of blockchain in Africa refugee centers could also provide access to welfare, aid, and donations. Some blockchain-related organizations have already set up programs that enable direct donations to those in need. The traceable nature of blockchain ensures the information is easily accessible and guaranteed to be accurate.
Developing the use of blockchain in Africa
It is believed the technology could greatly reduce the growing number of refugees by fast-tracking resettlement and give victims of displacement the opportunity to immediately start focusing on building a new life. The system could also be used to store banking and insurance details, so users don’t lose access to healthcare and funds – a common problem for the majority of refugees.
Naturally, certain foundations for the technology still need to be implemented, but there is no doubt that the use of blockchain in Africa could significantly improve the situation for millions. Just the knowledge that their identification and personal information is safe in a decentralized, immutable database would help to give refugees hope in times when they need it most.
Mark Hartley is an IT specialist, freelance writer, keen traveler, and blockchain enthusiast. He has worked on the trading floors of the world’s biggest interdealer broker in London and helped integrate crypto-services into IT trading systems. When he’s not searching for the world’s most beautiful beach, he’s nose deep in any crypto and blockchain related news.