Since 2017, the technology company that created Cardano and Atala PRISM, Input Output, has been widening its footprint on the African continent. The organization is focused on bringing economic identity and empowerment coupled with financial inclusion and sustainability, across Africa. Input Output realized the potential held by the African continent in matters of blockchain and the organization is on track towards making Africa the next global powerhouse through a series of blockchain investments.
Ethiopia: Provision of Digital Identities to 5 Million Students
Before Cardano’s Africa Special aired on April 29, IOHK, a cryptocurrency research and engineering company, announced its upcoming partnership with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education to create a national ID and attainment recording system. The main aim of this partnership is implementing blockchain-based solutions to revamp employment opportunities and education across the nation. Through the creation of blockchain-based digital identities for 5 million students and teachers, this becomes the biggest blockchain deployment anywhere in the world.
Cardano’s contribution to Ethiopia focuses on improving education by providing the nation with a digital verification system that can help monitor academic performance, validate grades, and reduce academic fraud. This initiative focuses on providing learners with blockchain-verified qualifications that make work easier for employers since they can reliably screen job applicants. Since Ethiopia is made up of a majority of rural citizens, this initiative will increase social mobility, technological advancement, and reduce the reliance on third-party agencies.
This partnership is a step closer to the African continent adopting blockchain-based solutions.
Cardano’s Partnership with Save the Children, Rwanda
On April 29, The Cardano Foundation announced its partnership with Save the Children, one of the largest international non-profit organizations focused on children. This partnership leans towards exploring ways Cardano and the ADA digital currency can be used to improve humanitarian initiatives in East Africa.
The Rwanda-based NGO became the latest non-profit organization to openly support cryptocurrencies after news of this partnership broke. The Cardano Foundation has set up a payment gateway to help individuals and organizations make cryptocurrency donations to the NGO. Cardano’s impact on the charity ecosystem was felt a few hours after launching this gateway when the NGO received approximately 22,000 ADA (roughly worth $30,000). The NGO can now feel the might of decentralization since Cardano’s payment gateway accepts ADA donations directly, ridding the system of intermediaries.
The Cardano Foundation even went another step further and talked of advancing humanitarian missions associated with the NGO’s Impact Innovation Hub. This hub stood out to Cardano because it uses the power of technology to improve humanitarian missions. Cardano can help advance this hub to help the NGO’s main office engage better with different sectors so that its impact for families and children in different areas like health, education, and protection can be amplified.
Artificial Intelligence in Africa
Input Output has always seen the potential Africa holds and has gradually invested in technological advancements in the continent. On May 1, the CEO and Co-founder of SingularityNET, Ben Goertzel, talked of how Africa is on track to become a world leader in AI and advanced robotics. IOHK has partnered with SingularityNET and iCog Labs to leverage advanced technologies like blockchain, AI, and machine learning to improve African technologies and support scientists in the continent.
iCog is Ethiopia’s first AI and robotics start-up and since its inception, it has been on an uptrend providing research and development services both for the nation and for its international customers. The main fields the organization is involved in include Artificial Intelligence, Bioinformatics research, machine learning based data analysis, and application software development.
The Addis Ababa based start-up has come up with a community based project known as the iCog Makers Robo-soccer Competition scheduled to kick off in the East African nation in a couple of weeks. This project will serve as a stepping stone to Africa’s tech enthusiasts as they compete in various tasks of hacking and programming humanoid robots for their chance to claim the coveted cup.
Connecting the African Continent
Input Output has partnered with World Mobile to ensure the African continent stays connected by providing the infrastructure needed for a totally connected Africa. IOHK will help World Mobile use Cardano blockchain technology to revamp connectivity in hard-to-reach areas across the continent.
By leaning towards connectivity, everyone will get an equal chance to access opportunities and services no matter how remote the location is. The best example to use is World Mobile’s innovation of a smart village in Tanzania where they delivered a wireless network using hybrid unlicensed spectrum and renewable solar-power energy. This unlicensed spectrum connects to multiple Air Nodes that creates a mesh network, ensuring remote areas get an equal share of the connection. The Air Nodes bridge the digital divide since they are powered by Cardano’s blockchain and sharing technology.
Blockchain Governance in Mauritius
In November 2019, The Cardano Foundation expanded its crypto efforts from Asia and Europe to Africa, specifically in Mauritius to build blockchain governance to future-proof the continent’s sustainable growth and development. According to the foundation’s chairperson, Nathan Kaiser, proper legislation is the first step towards real use cases of blockchain and they are open to work with Africa’s countries to come up with robust governance policies while assessing the existing laws and policies. The Cardano Foundation is confident that adopting blockchain technology in Africa will help the countries diversify their economies while increasing the continent’s innovation and investment attractiveness.
Mauritius was chosen as the fintech hub for Africa because it has already established a regulatory framework for the custody of digital assets. Mauritius hosted the 2019 Building Blockchain Bridges Roundtable with Cardano getting actively involved in this roundtable to ensure Mauritius’ blazing trail is followed by other African nations.
Blockchain governance in Africa helps shape their legislating and commercial standards while fostering accountability, which helps create new jobs while pushing for sustainable growth.
Onwards Towards Technological Advancements
Input Output’s unwavering support and investment in the African continent has come as an added advantage in realizing the continent’s tech potential. Through the Cardano Foundation and its numerous partnerships, one can already see blockchain coming of age in Africa. These initiatives are bringing the continent closer to realizing the vision of a decentralized Africa with its own economic identity and empowerment.