Cardano identity solution implementation in Ethiopia probably flawed
As Charles repeatedly expressed, Africa is the springboard for Cardano adoption worldwide, and the identity solution is the bedrock of Cardano adoption in Africa. Incidentally, the identity solution is a stepping stone for Africans to come out of poverty. It is the most critical inflection point for the business and the common-good ideals of Cardano.
But it seems this critical point appears to stymied by the business interest of IOHK. (I must acknowledge that my knowledge about technical issues if any is limited and it most probably is unintentional on the side of IOHK).
I have listened to John O’Connor’s presentation on the summit and despite the work done it may not bear fruit, as the government already signed MOU with an Indian entity to pilot a digital ID platform. https://newbusinessethiopia.com/technology/indian-company-to-introduce-digital-national-id-in-ethiopia/
The platform they are using seems https://github.com/mosip
According to the company website, it has also provided the platform to Morocco and probably to Guinea in Africa.
My fear is the Cardano solution may have failed due to the attempt to overly monetize the platform instead of using it as a vehicle for Cardano adoption.
The prism solution is built-in relative secrecy making it challenging to get information and evangelize and it is advertised as a product of IOHK rather than part of the Cardano ecosystem as promised.
On the other hand, the MOSIP system on offer is provided as an opensource platform.
Part of the problem seems the belief on the part of IOHK that the limited network it has within the government of Ethiopia is enough to secure contracts. Ethiopian, like many African governments, is a complicated system to navigate. Decisions may not be taken according to the rules within the time frame, and money often plays a role.
Political pressure or favors (internal and external) are involved, and the people who decide may not be very knowledgable about the issue they decide and may rely on an equally clueless anonymous adviser. Often there is no public consultation; therefore, the decisions are always are unwelcome surprises.
What was missing from Cardano effort in Ethiopia was precisely the community engagement as presented by Ben O’Hanlon, and Casey Monroe on the Cardano summit.
Creating awareness and a community of users is a more reliable way of creating preasure, getting noticed and adopted instead of navigating back alleys. Therefore the work should have been supported by the Cardano foundation in the form of creating a user community while IHOK is working on the technical solution.
Of course, money always plays a role, and finding a source of funding for implementation always makes it easier for the decision-makers.
Ethiopia is a diverse country, and it is not only the government that issues and needs to manage identity solutions. As I previously indicated, Ethiopia has one of the largest churches in Africa in membership (over 40 million) that needs to handle membership issues, clergy education, and qualification, almes, and their remittances worldwide.
Regions and sub-regions which are very autonomous issue their own identity card and a successful trial or adoption of prism in one area would create a pressure on the central government and maks it easier to decide as it is tested and tried, instead of focusing on only one ministry or the telecom as important as it may.
From my limited understanding, the Cardano solution and echo system seem much more superior and have longer prospects, and I would like to see it adopted.
I also believe it is not too late for Cardno prism. But, the Cardano Foundation, IOHK, and the community may have to invest more as the Ethiopian adoption is the centerpiece strategy in Cardano adoption in Africa and worldwide as Charles and Joho O.Connor indicated.