In January 2018, JonesStar Technology completed its feasibility study “Utilizing Blockchain Technology for Good Governance in the Mayor’s Office of Mogadishu”.
This is part of the Mayor’s Office “Good Governance & Transparency Campaign” where using Blockchain technology is being used to not only implement the strategy, but also to help fund the implementation.
After working closely with the government for several months last fall, JonesStar looked at updating its newly automated Public Finance Management (PFM) system with an application programming interface (APIs) to tie into the Blockchain; along with implementing a Citizen Identification System, a Revenue and Benefits Distributing System, and a Contract Acquisition System with secure Blockchain technology.
By embarking on the use of this technology and modernizing its business processes, the Mayor’s Office will be able to confidently let its citizens know how the Administration is tracking funds that comes into the government and how they are spent, thus significantly reducing corruption, ensuring that “no more funds vanish into thin air,” along with providing transparency with an audit trail of government spending and important government administrative actions.
When asked why Blockchain technology is being used for this Program, Mohamad Salah, Deputy Mayor stated “At the heart of Bitcoin is the ‘Blockchain,’ a database that records all transactions chronologically through a unique series of numbers arranged in ‘blocks’, which are then ‘chained’ to the next block cryptographically, so as to be both secure and accurate. This linking of information makes them like a financial ledger that can be stored and shared by anyone with a computer and internet connection – and thus allowing the system to be transparent and accessible to our citizenry and stakeholders.”
In addition to the proposed digital biometric identification for Mogadishu residents and incoming internally displaced persons (IDPs), all businesses should have digital identification and registration. The Blockchain will capture this information and transactions, and allows our office to ensure that correct benefits are properly received and not duplicated, and that better collection of revenues and fees is facilitated.
The study points out that using Blockchain to update and expand the mayor’s office various management systems will not only empower the citizenry of Mogadishu, but positively engage other stakeholders as well, and make them part of the solution. The heart of the Blockchain implementation is based on JonesStar’s proposed Mogadishu Blockchain Consortium, where we have architected a disturbed network of stakeholder nodes (used to store the Blockchain and for consensus) made up the citizens, federal government, commercial interests and international donors.
Furthermore, donors such as USAID, United Nations, Word Bank Group, NGOs and other nation states will be able to send funds for programs and initiatives to support the government through the use of “smart contracts.” Mohamad Salah, Deputy Mayor explains: “These smart contracts will allow the donors to track aid spending and benefits allocation down to the person, contractor, or supplier with records of who received what, when, and how. Also, we feel this will encourage more international firms to consider setting up new businesses or investments because the procurement process and contractual agreements will be on the Blockchain and available for public scrutiny and legal remedies.”
The study outlines two methods of revenue sources that can be utilized so that Blockchain can help implement the Mayor’s Office Good Governance & Transparency goals. The first is to make the Mogadishu Blockchain Consortium self-sustaining by applying a mechanism whereby a small percentage of the Blockchain transaction fees and donor dollars are fed back into the system’s treasury for maintenance and smart contract development. This method also came with the recommendation to make this part of a public-private partnership to ensure the proper infrastructure is put into place to allow technical knowledge and operations transfer and capacity building.
The second method recommends a pilot program in which the mayor’s office considers issuing MALAGGII (meaning “Angel” in Somali) tokens where IDPs can utilize these tokens for benefits in local establishments and allow the city to facilitate crowdfunding initiatives.
JonesStar also recommended that the city roll out a mobile application platform that allows citizens’ and stakeholders’ information access to such things as: budget, actual major expenditures of the government, point of contact data, public records, and a tool for reporting city service requests and suspicious activities.
In addition to submitting the feasibility study with cost estimates, JonesStar provided executive training on “Blockchain, Democracy, & Good Governance” to senior personnel. JonesStar has recently briefed a member of the Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development at the United Nations on the Mogadishu study, along with how local governments and organizations can use Blockchain technology for entrepreneurial initiatives and serving the unbanked population in Africa.
JonesStar Technology LLC, is a veteran-owned small business committed to our mission to help our clients achieve their International Development goals. Our professional staff works on issues of strategic importance in Democracy and Governance, Clean Energy, Economic Development, Global Health, and Education, ICT in conflict and post-conflict environments.