Ethiopian government, IOHK pioneer blockchain initiatives

IOHK, the leading blockchain research and development company, has announced a partnership with Ethiopia’s government to explore applications of blockchain technology in the country. In collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Technology, IOHK will work with ministers, entrepreneurs, and startup companies to examine blockchain applications that can benefit the country. Ethiopia is exploring a first use case of supply chain traceability for coffee, its largest export, among other agricultural technology applications.

IOHK will also train up to 100 Ethiopian software development students in Haskell, a rigorous programming language used for mission-critical applications and blockchain development, including the protocol behind top 10 cryptocurrency Cardano.

“Today is a great day in Ethiopia,” Ethiopia’s Minister of Science and Technology Dr.Ing Mr Getahun Mekuria said. “The Ministry of Science and Technology and IOHK are collaborating in researching an area of application to use their blockchain platform Cardano to be built upon by Ethiopian developers.”

Charles Hoskinson

“We are incredibly excited to be collaborating with the Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Technology and exploring new ways to innovate, such as in the agri-tech business, and other entrepreneurship in the blockchain space,” IOHK CEO Charles Hopkinson said. “We’ll be working with a lot of partners on the ground and have a lot of hope that Africa will be the next great venture for IOHK.”

IOHK will offer free courses to up to 100 local developers in the Haskell programming language, and the first group of students will be women. These courses will be taught by IOHK’s world-class industry development team in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa and by researchers in IOHK’s Blockchain Research Lab at the University of Edinburgh. Industry demand for developers with knowledge of Haskell is rapidly growing due to its compatibility for blockchain applications. IOHK plans to offer the most promising graduates of the school full-time developer roles.

“We are also training local blockchain developers, some of which we will hire, while the rest will go on to plough their skills into the economy,” Mr. Hoskinson added. “The first class will be all female, and the goal is to have graduates of that class move on to create ventures in the cryptocurrency space using Cardano technology, the first venture of its kind in Africa.”

The Ethiopia initiative is being coordinated by John O’Connor, Director of African Operations at IOHK, out of Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian Haskell course is the third time the program has run, after it was first offered in Athens, Greece in July 2017 and then in Barbados in February 2018.

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