Smart Africa and The Commons Project Announce a Partnership for Accelerating Digital Health Across Africa

Feb 16, 2022

Smart Africa and The Commons Project Announce a Partnership for Accelerating Digital Health Across Africa

KIGALI, February 16, 2022: The Smart Africa Secretariat (Smart Africa) and The Commons Project Foundation (TCP) are pleased to announce the launch of a partnership to accelerate the digitization of healthcare across Africa.  The announcement comes at a time when Africa is stepping up efforts to leverage digital technologies to strengthen the continent’s health systems and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Under this partnership, Smart Africa and TCP will support and collaborate with Smart Africa member states and a variety of organizations on the design, development, deployment and operation of digital public health infrastructure for the common good. The parties will also engage on various potential digital health pilots which will benchmark the progress around digital health in Africa. The pilots will be the precursor for digital health initiatives that are aimed to strengthen Africa’s health systems.

“The Commons Project has been working with stakeholders in Rwanda and Kenya to implement SMART Health Cards, an open standard endorsed by the World Health Organization that allows individuals to securely share a verifiable version of their vaccination records via a QR Code,” said Zhenya Lindgardt, CEO of The Commons Project. “Through this partnership with Smart Africa, we hope to continue driving forward initiatives that empower African citizens with access and control of their health information, a core component of The Commons Project’s mission.”

The work aligns well with Smart Africa’s commitment to accelerating sustainable socio-economic development on the continent by expanding affordable Broadband access and encouraging the use of new technologies.

Mr. Lacina Koné, Director General and CEO of Smart Africa commented: “We believe that the future of healthcare in Africa is digital-first, powered by mobility. This partnership will go a long way in delivering world class health services to Africa’s citizens such as SMART Health Cards in line with Rwanda’s recent decision to lead the digital health flagship within our alliance.”

“Rwanda decided to be the champion of digital health within the Smart Africa Alliance. SMART Health Cards for Africa is one of the many flagship projects that Rwanda is happy to take the lead on. We look forward to working with the ecosystem of partners that are supporting this standard to deliver its benefits to our people,” said the Hon. Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda.

Nowhere is better positioned to benefit from the digital revolution in healthcare than Africa, where technology can help tackle the rising burden of disease and major obstacles in infrastructure and the environment. This partnership will help achieve the promise of digital healthcare technology, while avoiding its potential pitfalls, and will define a comprehensive, systematic approach based on the principles of sustainability, equity and inclusion.

“By enabling consumer access and control of health data at scale, we see the potential of SMART Health Cards to revolutionize healthcare the same way mPesa revolutionized financial inclusion,” said Hon. Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT Innovation and Youth Affairs of Kenya.

A growing network of collaborating partners include the East African Community Secretariat, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, DHIS2 Rwanda, VCI, Microsoft, the eGov Foundation and Oracle.

About Smart Africa

Smart Africa is an alliance of 32 African countries, international organisations and global private sector players tasked with Africa’s digital agenda. The alliance is empowered by a bold and innovative commitment by African Heads of State to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development on the continent and usher Africa into the knowledge economy through affordable access to broadband and the use of ICTs. With a vision to create a single digital market in Africa by 2030, the Smart Africa Alliance brings together Heads of State who seek to accelerate the digitalization of the continent and create a common market. Launched in 2013 by 7 African Heads of State, the Alliance now has 32 member countries, representing over 815 million people and over 40 Private Sector members committed to the vision and the advancement of Africa.

About The Commons Project

The Commons Project Foundation (“TCP”) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that builds and operates digital platforms and services for the common good. TCP was established in 2019 to create digital public infrastructure to fill the void left by tech companies and to reduce the burdens of governments. Since its founding, TCP has built a suite of digital products that operationalize the infrastructure of interoperable data standards (i.e., SMART Health Card Verifier App) and empower users with access to their health data (i.e., CommonHealth). TCP also co-created VCI, a broad coalition of public and private organizations dedicated to providing access to verifiable health records to people around the globe.

To learn more about The Commons Project Foundation, visit our website and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter (@commons_prjct). For general inquiries, email

Media Contacts:

The Commons Project Foundation

Alex Newby

Smart Africa

Yvan Guehi