Rwanda government partners with Medici Land Governance to digitize land transactions

Medici Land Governance (MLG), in partnership with the Government of Rwanda through Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority (RLMUA) and the Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA), is implementing a pilot project in Gasabo District, Kigali Province, to make land transfers by voluntary sale paperless and more secure.

In addition, those citizens would only need to visit the notary office once. MLG has built a land transaction system, Ubutaka, that will be integrated across essential Rwandan services for improved efficiency. The project will save time for both citizens and the Government, while also enhancing security through the use of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and blockchain technology.

“MLG is proud to be working with Rwanda, a globally recognized leader in land registration and technology,” says Ali El Husseini, PhD, CEO of Medici Land Governance. “Our collaboration will continue in helping to facilitate their trajectory which emphasizes the values and objectives of innovative technology adoption and good governance. We look forward to reaching a point when Rwandan citizens can carry out all types of land transfers in a secure and paperless way, without losing time or work during their day.”

Rwanda has set the gold standard for land governance in Africa and beyond. The pilot project builds on the Government of Rwanda’s foundational work, including the Land Tenure Regularization Program (LTRP), the Land Administration Information System (LAIS), and Irembo.

Through the pilot project, landowners in Gasabo District will initiate a land transfer by voluntary sale in the Irembo platform.

The data entered in Irembo is then pushed to Ubutaka, which notaries in Gasabo District will utilize to verify seller and buyer identities. Notaries will compare buyer and seller photos with the National Identification Agency Database and collect buyer and seller signatures, fingerprints, and photos to verify identities and prevent the double-selling of land. This information will be encrypted to protect the privacy of Rwandan citizens.

The notary uses web-based PKI software to digitally sign all associated identity and purchase documents, and those documents are then transferred to LAIS, where the registrar reviews, approves and signs using PKI. Upon final approval, the digital proofs of all transaction data, authorization by the notary, and approval by the registrar, are published to a public blockchain for future auditing purposes and irrefutable proof of transfer by all parties involved.

“Since 2009, Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority has worked diligently to digitize all land services. So far, twenty-two land services are processed online yet for some steps, applicants are requested to submit hard documents to support their applications. The existing Land Administration Information System needs to be upgraded in order to address some issues that any digitized system can encounter, including land title duplications, data errors, document misplacement, land document forgery, fraud, error or the alteration of records.

This pilot project is a great opportunity to test the new technology, Ubutaka, based on the use of blockchain technology developed by Medici Land Governance. Ubutaka will enable the Government to prevent the above-mentioned issues and make the delivery of land services more secure and efficient.

 In addition, the reduction of papers usage in land services will contribute to the realization of objectives of climate change adaptation and resilience in Rwanda.

This pilot phase will be conducted in Gasabo District and for land transfer by voluntary sale only. After three months of the pilot, there will be an assessment after which the Government of Rwanda and MLG will decide on the scaling up the use of Ubutaka in all districts and consider all other land related transactions. We appreciate the good cooperation between Government of Rwanda and Medici Land Governance.” – Esperance Mukamana, Director General and Chief Registrar of Land Titles of Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority


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