IOTA's African Pilot Moves From Flowers to Tea, Fish, and Textile
After a pilot project, Trademark East Africa (TMEA) said it has extended its contract with the IOTA Foundation and aims to expand testing of IOTA (MIOTA)'s technology into more trade lanes, such as tea export to the UK, fish to Belgium, and textiles to the US.
TMEA, which is building a decentralized digital infrastructure "for optimized trade exports," is also targeting other governments in East Africa to test the integration of the technology with their border agencies.
Through a pilot project in Kenya, focused on the country’s flower exports, the partnership is working to eliminate the paperwork that is clogging trade in the region.
The project aims to create "an interconnectivity technology highway" for East African businesses and government systems to communicate securely, transparently, and instantaneously, as well as to empower “traders to focus on developing their product and optimizing their business by digitizing bureaucratic processes and moving export documentation to the Tangle, IOTA’s ledger data structure,” the Foundation said in a statement.
TMEA estimates that an African entrepreneur is liable to fill out 96 paper documents for a single transaction on average. Therefore, the system developed by the partners "anchors the key trade documents on the Tangle and shares them with customs in destination countries to speed up the export process and make African companies more competitive globally," according to the statement.
The initial phase of the East African project, dubbed the Trade Logistics Information Pipeline (TLIP), is focused on Kenya’s flower industry which exports about 180,000 tons of flowers per year. “Currently, flower farmers in Kenya face a mountain of paperwork and long communication chains until they can ship their highly perishable product to customers," said the announcement, adding:
"In the pilot, the IOTA Foundation and TMEA successfully mapped the export process of Kenyan flower farmers, established improved user journeys, and engaged with the technical teams within border agencies."
Since 2000, East African countries have been increasing their economic cooperation through the East African Community (EAC), a regional bloc that comprises Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Sudan. At the same time, the six member states have worked to develop their ties with the European Union with which they signed a trade agreement in 2014. The EAC’s main exports to the EU are mainly coffee, cut flowers, tea, tobacco, fish, and vegetables, according to data from the European Commission.
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