Bringing the good news of Haskell to Africa

So this plan to create a vast hoard of African programmers - who thinks it’s gonna work out?

It’s the one bit of Cardano I have the biggest doubts about tbh. I’ve never really known many African programmers, Asian - yes, Indian - yes, African female programming teams - not so much. That doesn’t mean it won’t work of course, but it seems like a giant unknown.

Since Cardano is “science based”, I’m wondering if there are any peer reviewed papers or studies or examples of organizations creating African programming teams at scale like Cardano is trying to do.

I know that the idea is to “teach a man to fish”, in that they should be able to program solutions to their problems rather than having someone from outside come in… I agree in principal, but I’m skeptical that it will actually work out.

What do you guys think?

  • YES - Of course it will work, are you a sexist AND a racist?
  • NO - It has the same chance as an ice cube in hell.
  • Don’t know.

0 voters


The past is not necessarily a good guide to the future… :slightly_smiling_face:

(And if you think the current situation in Africa says more about Africans than about the circumstances in which they find themselves, then yes, I believe that is more-or-less the definition of racism.)

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He didn’t say he did, and it doesn’t matter. Circumstances may be no less intractable than some inherent deficiency (should one exist). Of course I hope it will work out, but Africa is littered with the wreckage of these kind of projects. Hopefully there is a plan B incase it goes sideways, or some nibble pivoting. :slight_smile:


Charles has said that the reason for teaching locals was so that they then had the skills available to find solutions for themselves. He is aware that an outsider cannot go in and think that they know best. I think that this is an amazing project and will benefit locals in the long run. This is not going to happen overnight and Charles is well aware of that.

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Ridiculous choices. Not very useful.

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Hi Kenny, could you please expand on your comments. Other than being somewhat dismissive they aren’t really telling us anything helpful. Thank you

What most people are missing is that Africa & North Africa adopted technology way after anybody else. Now they have the latest tech infrastructure one can buy and are looking to modernize their countries and services as to keep up with the rest of the world. Would you not call this a Golden opportunity? The only thing that bothered me is that only two countries were mentioned, leaving out countries like Ghana, Morocco, Kenya etc.

Yes it is a golden opportunity. But isn’t it wise to focus on a few countries at first, learning lessons, then expanding into the others later?

“Banking the unbanked”, becoming “the financial stack of the developing world”, doing an end run around the western bankers and politicians, are fundamental to the Cardano vision, and inevitably mean working in difficult areas. People who are uncomfortable with that should probably reconsider their position.

A (proper) education is the basis (or root if you will) to start improving (a) society. So, with IOHK’s Lars Brunjes taking the lead and start educating people from the ground up, is something of which I am not skeptical at all. I can see there might be hurdles to overcome, as it sure won’t be easy, or something that can be done overnight, with a flick of a magic wand…
If people learn how to program and create useful applications for their surroundings, this helps to enrich (a) society, which in turn will help develop said society even further. I don’t see why/how an initiative to teach/educate is something to be skeptical about…So yes, I think it will work out, given time and effort. :+1:

In addition, the overall image I received from IOHK’s Africa initiatives, is that people in those regions are generally very eager to learn (new) challenging things. Maybe even more compared to their Western counterparts…as students sometimes give a rather lazy/spoiled image. (No offence to anyone here in particular of course, but I hope you catch my drift…)



-Don’t know if it will work
-To be effective, the programs should be practical
-Internet and wilingness to learn is sometimes enough to learn programming
-Classroom/teacher setting could be leveraged to cut learning time but it has to be practical, project-based learning.

I don’t know if this will work, but it’s worth trying.

One of the major flaws of teaching programming is that they dont focus on actual problems.

They go through a lot of details on the structure of the language, the components of the language, but rarely do they tie it up with a real world project or a mini project.

I have taught myself programming and the bursts of productivity/learning always come to me when I learn new tricks by focusing on a particular project.

Yes, I end up spending a lot of time reading documentation, and stack overflow, but I always have fun doing that because I have a goal at the end. I assume this to be true for most people.

If you have access to internet and willingness to learn, you don’t really need a classroom/teacher.

BUT I do agree a structured learning with a real teacher could save a lot of time!


Yes, sorry so a response.

I was referring to the choices of training women coders.

“Yes, of course it will work AND your a sexist AND a racist.

“No, It has the same chance as an ice cube in hell.

“I don’t know.”

There, other, less extreme, and more nuanced ‘yes’ and ‘no’ reasons and this survey does not allow for real responses.

They are slanted to a particular viewpoint, which is not objective and allows for no other rationale than the writer’s.

It could have been thought out more, if it wanted more useful responses. It seems like it only confirms a particular view point’s bias.

It’s sort of like asking the question
“Do you still beat your wife?” There is no good ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. You’re doomed either way.


If we want a useful and real metric here, the values associated with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ should either be omitted, or provide space to support the answer from the respondent’s rational.

Otherwise, as it’s worded, your just kind of ‘being right’ and making opposing view points, (other opinions)’ wrong’ if it’s different than the writer’s view.

It can be hard to see that you’re doing it, but that’s the result.

I hope this helps.

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This makes sense.

Thanks for the responses Kenny, and I agree with you that it makes sense. Cheers!

Thx. I appreciate your feedback!

The absolute truth.

Meet the 19-year-old tech genius coding at Ethiopia’s first AI lab

By Alice McCool and Thomas Lewton, for CNN

Updated at 1058 GMT (1858 HKT) October 11, 2018

(CNN) — At 19-years-old, Betelhem Dessie is perhaps the youngest pioneer in Ethiopia’s fast emerging tech scene, sometimes referred to as ‘Sheba Valley’.

Dessie is coordinating a number of nationwide programs run by robotics lab iCog, the Addis Ababa based artificial intelligence (AI) lab that was involved in developing the world famous Sophia the robot.
Promoted by IBM
A platform bridging rural and urban Africa

She has four software programs copyrighted solely to her name - including an app developed for the Ethiopian government to map rivers used for irrigation.

And it all began when she was just 9.
She recalls: “On my 9th birthday I wanted to celebrate so I asked my father for money.”

When her father said he didn’t have any to give her that day, Dessie took matters into her own hands.

Making use of the materials around her - her father sold electronics in their home city of Harar in eastern Ethiopia - Dessie started with small tasks such as video editing and sending music to customer’s cell phones.

“I got about 90 dollars - then I celebrated my birthday” she laughs, sitting in one of the robotics and coding rooms at iCog, Ethiopia’s first AI lab.
iCog launched in 2013 and Ethiopia’s tech industry is set to take off even faster this year following the liberalization of the country’s economy under new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Abiy who took office in April, has part privatized a number of state owned companies including telecoms provider Ethio Telecom. It’s a bid to hopefully pave the way for better internet access. The Government seeing huge changes following a government sanctioned internet blackout that took place prior to Abiy taking office.

Practical apps for the community
A guiding light at iCog Labs for a football playing robot.

One program Dessie leads on at iCog is “Solve IT”, which works with young people to find technological solutions to community based problems.

Dessie travels the length and breadth of the country working with students (some up to five years her senior) to inspire the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

Being younger, she says, means she and other teachers are “more in touch with what the students are experiencing.” In the same way women teaching women can be impactful, she adds, having had the same lived experiences.

Girls are a minority among the students attending “Solve IT”, but for Dessie they have the most to contribute.

“The boys imagine more, they want to do something that’s big and inspired, the girls they really want to help their community from the core,” she explains.

Instead of space rockets and robots, the solutions put forward by the girls she teaches tend to be grounded and immediate - such as an SMS app that informs farmers about local weather conditions.

Dessie’s passion for technology was, for the most part, supported growing up in relatively liberal Harar, but her experience isn’t the norm in Ethiopia.

Teaching the basics of AI
In 2013, women accounted for a quarter of students enrolled in science and technology studies at university; while only eight percent of science researchers are women.

“Unless you really are in the industry, there is no one to look up to in technology,” says Dessie, pointing to this lack of female role models.
“Solve IT” students test their AI tractor at Mekele University in Ethiopia’s far north. Image: Thomas Lewton.
“Solve IT” students test their AI tractor at Mekele University in Ethiopia’s far north. Image: Thomas Lewton.

“Anyone Can Code”, is another project of Dessie’s that teaches young Africans the basics of artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain and other emerging technologies.

She is currently looking for funding for a project called “The Sophia School Bus.”

“The bus will go around Ethiopia equipped with laptops and other electronic materials such as 3D printers to create more awareness on these technologies - using Sophia as a brand to attract,” she explains.

With the help of Sophia the robot, Dessie hopes to inspire the next generation of coders in Ethiopia and Africa more broadly - particularly girls.
Asked why this is so important to her, she smiles.

“Who can solve the problem of a female if she cannot tell you the problem, and find her own solution?”


@HisMajesty By the way it’s not only Charles who sees the potential of Africa in this technological area. SingularityNet is targeting Africa, Universa is also pivoting towards Africa.

Don’t confuse the politics of Africa with its academia.

This info is great, thanks a lot for posting it.


@HisMajesty, thanks for sharing your observations. I welcome the effort, but I hope it’s done the right way. Only time will tell :slight_smile: