To support the rebuilding of the Zimbabwean economy, Manchester-based consumer technology and security company, VST Enterprises, is working with the nation’s authorities and other international partners to develop innovative new uses for its cutting-edge authentication technology, VCode®.
VCode® is a scannable technology that allows users to securely access personalised information no matter where they are, through a mobile phone or similar device. Each code is unique and matched to pre-set security parameters that can vary the level of access and information per user. The information can be set and tracked with real-time analytics in the VPlatform – a secure, cloud-based tracking portal – by the organisation. The technology can be used in a wide variety of consumer, business and government applications, providing a secure means of verifying information.
VST Enterprises has already devised a number of uses for VCode in Zimbabwe, designed to address key economic challenges, including tackling currency counterfeiting, illegal mining of minerals, counterfeit and smuggled high-value goods, and national identity card security.
Speaking about the collaboration between the Zimbabwean authorities and international partners, Louis-James Davis, founder and CEO of VST Enterprises, explained: “The new government in Zimbabwe has already made positive steps towards embarking on a new era of international cooperation in trade and other areas but, in order to achieve this goal, the nation needs to have the technological infrastructure in place to ensure traceability and prevent crimes like smuggling and counterfeiting.
“With the support of VST Enterprises and other international partners, Zimbabwe can address underlying issues in its economy and lay the foundations for a more prosperous future for its people.”
Christopher Mutsvangwa, special advisor to the President and minister of information, added: “A new day has dawned for the Zimbabwean economy. By implementing VSTE’s revolutionary technology, we’re going to put a stop to real and prevailing issues of counterfeiting and traceability in our country.
“The new partnership will do more than simply help us improve security and government oversight of the economy, we expect VSTE’s technology to have an enormous positive impact on our society and on people’s livelihoods. This is a historic moment, not just for Zimbabwe but for the whole of Africa.”
Following a successful collaboration with the UK’s National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester, VST Enterprises has developed a method to etch micron-level VCodes onto minerals. This can be used by Zimbabwean authorities to tag minerals mined in the country to optimise traceability, ensuring both that they can be correctly taxed and to help the government tackle the pressing issue of illegal mining. Furthermore, this allows consumers to check that what they are purchasing is conflict free and manage ownership of the items via the VPlatform’s ledger system.
Working with Zimbabwean authorities, VST Enterprises is also finalising plans to prevent both product counterfeiting and the smuggling of tobacco, alcohol and other high-value imports. Under the proposals, VCodes will be printed on the packaging of genuine products. When scanned, this will confirm the provenance of the item, the authenticity of the item and whether excise duty has been paid. The scanned results are protected by the VPlatform’s security parameters which contain geo-fences, user permissions and timestamps, ensuring every interaction is logged and can report any attempts to interfere with the supply chain back to the owner. With this information, retailers can be confident that the products they are stocking are genuine, and authorities can ensure that all imported goods are correctly taxed.
In addition to these important trade initiatives, VST Enterprises is supporting the Zimbabwean government in tackling the urgent issue of currency counterfeiting, working with it to create new bank notes that include an unforgeable VCode to verify their authenticity. A similar solution is being devised for a new national ID card system for the country.