Zim gets technology to halt counterfeits

MANCHESTER-based consumer technology and security company, VST Enterprises, will support Zimbabwe with authentication technology to bust counterfeiting on currency, improve security and boost traceability.

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

The technology, VCode®, is scannable and allows users to securely access personalised information through a mobile phone or similar devices.

Speaking on the collaboration between the Zimbabwean authorities and international partners, Louis-James Davis, founder and chief executive officer of VST Enterprises, said the country needed technological infrastructure to ensure traceability and counterfeiting.

“The new government in Zimbabwe has already made positive steps towards embarking on a new era of international co-operation 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,” he said.

Christopher Mutsvangwa, special adviser to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, said the technology was a new dawn for the Zimbabwean economy, as implementing VSTE’s revolutionary technology was going to stop prevailing issues of counterfeiting.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Headquartered in Manchester, VST has international offices in New York, Reno, Hong Kong, Armenia, New Delhi and South Africa.
In 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,” VST said, adding it was 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,” it said.

In addition to these important trade initiatives, VST Enterprises is supporting the Zimbabwean government in tackling the 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 identification card system for the country, it said.

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