International Assistance: Blockchain

Department for International Development written question – answered on 10th July 2019.

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Photo of Viscount Waverley Viscount Waverley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to making full use of the capabilities of blockchain-based smart contracts to protect the supply chain and ensure that major international aid and development projects are fully transparent, and that funding is secure.

Photo of Viscount Waverley Viscount Waverley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to help fund the further assessment and development of blockchain technologies for major infrastructure and international development projects, and (2) to ensure that the UK remains a centre of excellence and is a preferred jurisdiction for such contracts.

Photo of Viscount Waverley Viscount Waverley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support UK companies that are developing blockchain technology for the delivery of major international development contracts.

Photo of Baroness Sugg Baroness Sugg The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

DFID is committed to best practice in the use of new digital technologies and we have set a vision for doing development in a digital world in our Digital Strategy. We have commissioned several reports to understand the effectiveness and potential of emerging blockchain technologies for international development. DFID also has several proof of concept pilots in design and implementation to test the potential of blockchain in, for example, humanitarian supply chains, tracking of UK aid funds, and to incentivise and reward environmentally sustainable farming practices. DFID is learning from these pilots and other projects to ensure that the UK remains at the cutting edge of delivering aid.

DFID’s contracts are tendered in accordance with the EU Public Procurement Directive and the UK Public Procurement Regulations 2015, the focus of which is to ensure open and fair competition between bidders. This means our contracts are competitively tendered following a set of standard processes set out in the regulations. This competitive approach helps ensure value for money in the delivery of UK aid. British companies have continued to be very successful in this competitive market with UK firms winning 80% of our contracts in 2018/19.

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