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Linux Foundation launches Tazama to curb fraud

Africa , 29 Feb 2024
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is backing Tazama.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is backing Tazama.

The Linux Foundation Charities (LF Charities), with backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has officially announced the release of Tazama, an open-source software solution for real-time fraud detection.

Yesterday's launch, according to LF Charities, marks a key milestone in the advancement of digital financial services and shift in the global approach to financial monitoring and compliance, by delivering the first open source platform dedicated to enhancing fraud detection.

The Global Anti-Scam Alliance reported that approximately $1 trillion was lost to online fraud in 2022.

According to LF Charities, the financial industry has previously struggled with more expensive, proprietary solutions that offer limited flexibility and low levels of access for many people in developing economies.

The foundation believes Tazama challenges the status quo, by offering a scalable and cost-effective alternative that democratises access to advanced financial monitoring technologies.

The solution's architecture prioritises data sovereignty, privacy, and openness, which aligns with the interests of governments globally, said the organisation.

Several organisations, including South African-based BankservAfrica, are evaluating Tazama.

LF Charities said: “The idea is to enable businesses to track financial activities and identify any fraud and money laundering in real time. West African and COMESA countries are among the early adopters.

“The Central Bank of West African States – which serves as the central bank for the eight countries of the Western African Monetary Union – and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, which includes 21 nations, has also issued a request for proposals for supporting Tazama in several of its member states.”

"Very few anti-fraud systems have true real-time capability," said Greg McCormick, executive director, Tazama.

He added: "Yet that is what we need to stop fraud before the payment is made and to ensure that a user can trust the system and they won't lose their money. The bigger challenge was how do we keep the costs down and do this all with open source.”

Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, said: "Innovation in financial technology is critical and Tazama is at the forefront of that evolution.”

"This pioneering open source platform helps address critical challenges like fraud detection and compliance and paves the way for innovative, inclusive financial solutions that serve everyone, especially those in low-income countries," said Kosta Peric, deputy director, payment systems, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "The launch of Tazama signifies another stride towards securing and democratising digital financial services."

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