Ethiopia to create blockchain-based identities for 5 million students with new partnership

by | May 6, 2021

Africa has been described as the best place for blockchain to thrive because of the lack of existing systems. In reference, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a TechCrunch article, that Africa will define the future of blockchain-based currency, Bitcoin. Many sectors and industries lack proper development that can promote sustainable economic growth and improve the lives of Africans. 

Last week, the Ethiopian Ministry of Education announced a partnership with Input Output (IOHK) — the company in charge of developing the blockchain network, Cardano — to create a national student-teacher identification system. This partnership is considered a big blockchain deal in the continent.

In an interview with John O’Connor, IOHK Director of African Operations, Ethiopia’s Education Minister — Getahun Mekuria — said the project would provide blockchain-based digital IDs for five million students.

Besides easy identification, the blockchain-based ID will help the ministry of education track each student’s academic performance. 

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According to inside bitcoin, Mekuria says the blockchain solution will make education in the country dynamic and increase access to higher education as well as employment opportunities. 

Charles Hoskinson, IOHK CEO, started the company to create economic identities for those who have none. IOHK has been on the continent since 2017, and its blockchain solution might be the first of many.

Stating the disparity between developed and developing countries, Hoskinson points to the ease of accessing loans, proving ownership, and processing payments in developed countries. 

To corroborate his submission, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, still faces several infrastructural bottlenecks in creating sustainable digital and economic identities for its citizens. We revealed a year ago that the country has been at it for 13 years, spending billions of dollars on different identity projects. 

Hoskinson adds that developed countries enjoy structurally superior systems, which developing countries might not easily replicate. 

Although Ethiopia’s blockchain solution is the biggest yet, other African countries have announced their adoption of the technology for revenue generation. Last year, Nigeria announced plans to generate $10 billion with blockchain. 

Following a prediction by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that the technology will contribute $1.7 billion to global GDP, Nigeria plans to position itself to reap the fruits of blockchain. However, the only notable regulatory development on blockchain in Nigeria since then is a ban on cryptocurrencies. 

While blockchain adoption in Africa might be slow, the scale of Ethiopia’s blockchain project might foster more blockchain projects in Africa. With blockchain companies like IOHK committed to improving economic identity, Africa might just beat the rest of the world to mainstream blockchain adoption.

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Featured image credit:  Global Partnership for Education – GPE Flickr via Compfight cc

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