IOHK Sizes up Blockchain Applications with Ethiopian Government


Blockchain R&D group IOHK has struck up a partnership with the government of Ethiopia to explore applications of blockchain technology, including agricultural initiatives and supply chain traceability for coffee.

In a press release on Friday, IHOK, which focuses on financial services for unbanked populations in developing economies, said it will collaborate with the Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Technology to connect ministers, entrepreneurs, and startup companies and examine blockchain applications that can benefit the country.

Exploration of a first use case of supply chain traceability for coffee, the country’s largest export, is already underway, alongside other potential agricultural technology applications.

In addition, IOHK said it will 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.

Industry demand for developers with knowledge of Haskell is rapidly growing due to its compatibility for blockchain applications and IOHK said it plans to offer the most promising graduates of the school full-time developer roles.

Ethiopia’s Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ing Mr Getahun Mekuria said, in a statement: “Today is a great day in Ethiopia. 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.”

“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,” said Charles Hoskinson, CEO of IOHK and one of the original co-founders of Ethereum.  “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.

“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,” 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. This is the third time IOHK has run an international Haskell course, The other initiatives have been in Athens in July 2017 and then in Barbados in February 2018.