Cardano: A taste of what’s to come? Ethiopia’s PM discusses digital transformation

  • Ethiopia’s prime minister has identified 4 basic building blocks for the country’s digital economy, including the introduction of a national digital ID.
  • He also aims to build interoperable payment platforms, strengthen e-government applications, and ultimately enable e-commerce.

As CNF reported, John O’Connor, Director of African Operations at IOG, announced the world’s largest deployment of blockchain in Ethiopia in early February. Since then, there have been some bureaucratic delays in the final signing of the government contract that will bring several million users onto the Cardano blockchain. However, after much back and forth, the minister in charge in Ethiopia signed the contract just over a week ago, Cardano creator Charles Hoskinson revealed in a tweet.

Hoskinson also hinted that, with “a bit of luck,” the “Africa Special” will be held in April. As part of this, not only will the government contract in Ethiopia and all related projects be made public, but also all other initiatives on the African continent. According to the IOG CEO, partners like IceAddis will give his company access to over 25 countries in Africa, allowing for broad expansion.

Digital transformation in Ethiopia

A taste of the use cases Cardano could fulfill in Ethiopia was provided by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in a recent interview. While it should be explicitly noted that Cardano is not mentioned in the interview, it nevertheless shows Ethiopia’s path to a digital society, where Cardano will probably play some role with its Atala PRISM identity solution, according to current knowledge.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in the interview with Telecom Review Africa, talked about the vision of putting information and communication technologies (ICT) and telecommunications at the center of the goals for economic growth and prosperity. As he explained, the country is currently liberalizing the telecommunications market to “address constraints across the economy, including in critical sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, logistics, education, tourism and manufacturing.”

With liberalization, the entry of new telecommunications providers is expected to bring competition to the market and “develop the ICT sector into one of the country’s main economic growth engines.” Commenting further on the country’s digital vision, Ahmed said:

We have launched Digital Ethiopia 2025 – A Digital Strategy for Ethiopia’s Inclusive Prosperity and passed implementing laws and institutional structures. We have also taken bold measures to make it easier and more rewarding to do business in Ethiopia.

In this Strategy, we have identified four foundational building blocks for the digital economy – the establishment of a national digital ID, building interoperable payment platforms, strengthening e-government applications, and finally enabling e-commerce. These are supported by the reforms in the power and in the telecom sector.

Once the infrastructure is in place, the prime minister said, it will be possible for the government and private sector to offer digital services “agriculture, healthcare, logistics, education, tourism and manufacturing” that will drive efficiencies in these areas.

“It also allows for a more reliable payments and digital financial services ecosystem that can drive higher financial inclusion,” Ahmed said.

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