Cardano’s Vision for Africa
Back in February, Cardano Foundation held a meetup in London where Charles Hoskinson spoke to a packed auditorium at LSE. He set out the vision for Cardano in the developing world, where there is tremendous potential for blockchain technology to solve social, economic and political problems.
In his talk, Charles gave insight of these problems such as land and property registries, identity and voting. But he also discussed the importance of engaging local government for adoption as well as the local community. This will be done through their education agenda to bring skills to developers in these regions.
“You have to go to talk to people in the countries you want to help. The only way you are going to the change the world is you have to go there. You’re not going to be the one doing it, you have to be humble enough to let the people there do it.”
IOHK’s Africa Tour in May
In this video, John O’Connor, Director of African Operations at IOHK, introduces himself and his trip to Africa in May. John has been with the Cardano project since before the launch and previously worked for Cardano Foundation. John has great passion for accelerating blockchain technology in Africa, not least due to his heritage (he is half-Ethiopian). He found an opportunity at IOHK to direct this passion into action.
After realizing that there was more potential beyond training and educating developers in Haskell, John engaged with the local government in Ethiopia, as well as industries and ministries to explore areas where Cardano can be useful. At this time, a memorandum of understanding was signed between IOHK and the Ethiopian government. In the MoU, it laid out IOHK’s intent to train and hire Haskell developers in Addis Ababa and the Ethiopian government’s intent to help us to deploy Cardano in agriculture, such as coffee.
Transform Africa Summit
The next stop was Kigali, Rwanda, where IOHK and Cardano Foundation attended the Transform Africa Summit. Steve Wagendorp, Head of Technical Operation at Cardano Foundation, who is originally from Cape Town, South Africa was able to attend the summit amongst 4000 other participants including Heads of State and Government, industry leaders, entrepreneurs and academia. The summit aimed to bring leaders from various organizations together to collaborate on shaping, accelerating and sustaining Africa’s digital revolution, hence why blockchain was a key focus. Charles Hoskinson also spoke at the event and lots of exciting discussions took place!
Opportunities and Projects in Rwanda
In this video, John O’Connor gives an overview of Rwanda’s ambitious digital transformation program, which has a key component in blockchain technology. Rwanda’s government is focussed and supportive of technology and innovation, which is great for speed of implementation of such new technologies. John also describes the dialogues they’ve had with the private and public sectors and government leading figures such as their Minister of Environmental Affairs. Whilst the technology Cardano is developing is general and can be built to many different applications, it is imperative to start by understanding the problems and issues that face Rwanda. He adds that though Ethiopia is an interesting country for any technology service provider, because of the potential to deploy your technology at a huge scale (Ethiopia’s population is over 100 million), Rwanda is equally interesting with its ability to run trial projects at a smaller scale (population of 10 million) with the support of the government in a contained project space.
This recent video from IOHK and Charles Hoskinson begins by describing the Transform Africa Summit that happened in May where representatives from many African nations among other leaders from around the world were in attendance. At the summit, the world solutions to common problems that all nation states face were discussed. For example, the need for every nation state to protect their people, feed their people and to provide peace and prosperity.
Of course, there are many ways to solve these problems and blockchain has been added as a one of these potential solutions. The hope is that blockchain can be applied to reduce corruption, improve supply chain, improve property registration and record-keeping and push more wealth across the population.
Charles also talks about the history of Rwanda. It was, like many African nations, colonized and this colonization was particularly bad in Rwanda. The consequence of this occupation was that certain powers were elevated to a position to where it created disruption and resentment in society. Eventually, people wanted ‘ethnic revenge’ and one of the worst genocides in human history occurred in 1994, when over a million people were brutally killed in 100 days.
When something like this happens, Charles adds that you would expect generations to come to carry hate and resentment. But remarkably, 24 years later, the dominant ethnic groups have reunited for the common good of the nation. Naturally, there are challenges that still need to be overcome and others who cannot forgive the events of history, but Rwanda has become one of the greatest success stories, whereby one of the poorest, most brutalized humanitarian crises of all time has turned into one of the fastest growing economies in all of Africa.
There are lessons to learn from Rwanda. Such as how one can recover from crisis and work with one another, even those who you have reason to hate, for the common good. There is also the great lesson in avoiding centralization of power where and when possible. As observed, when centralization happens in the wrong ways, it can end up with massive violations of human rights and genocides. The video ends on a positive note where Charles talks on the excitement for the project to bring blockchain technology to Rwanda and Africa.
The Cardano Community in Africa
We are already engaged with a few Cardano community members in Africa who host meetups in their local regions. Links are below if you are interested in joining these groups!
If you are based in other areas and are interested in organizing a local Cardano meetup group, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Check out IOHK’s blog posts on Africa:
Cardano’s Goals for Africa and the Developing World
How Cardano can help Development in Africa
Vision for Blockchain in Africa is Becoming a Reality