From smart insurance to on-chain document verification: Here’s how NEAR aims to improve Kenya

Kenya-based blockchain community Sankore has partnered with Swiss nonprofit NEAR Foundation to launch a regional hub that aims to develop talent within the region and build projects that aim to improve the local ecosystem. 

Sankore supports projects like Kilimo Shwari, which is a blockchain-based insurance program that helps farmers deal with natural disasters. Apart from this, the firm also supports Ledja, a project which focuses on combating fraudulent documentation within Africa by using NEAR Protocol for document verification.

The partnership will further these initiatives by developing talent within the region through its workshops. Kevin Imani, the founder of Sankore, said that they are “thrilled to be working with NEAR to educate and nurture talented individuals” and support their journeys to become blockchain developers.

Sankore also runs meetups, where they educate younger Kenyans about Web3. This will also also be supported by the partnership with NEAR. As the hub becomes formalized, its educational arm has also already tied up with local universities and currently has 84 students and six graduates who were certified as developers through NEAR workshops.

Marieke Flament, CEO of NEAR Foundation, said that they are also “excited by the potential avenues throughout Africa for blockchain solutions.” Flament mentioned that the partnership gives the firm an opportunity to find and partner with talents within the region.

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Back in February, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) sought the input of the public on the development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). They published a discussion paper that aims to get input on potential pros and cons and regulatory challenges surrounding the introduction of a CBDC in Kenya.

In other parts of Africa, blockchain and crypto adoption have made progress. In April, the Central African Republic (CAR) adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender. This means that the citizens of the CAR can use Bitcoin (BTC) for their transactions in addition to the Central African CFA franc.