Short Story

Problem statement :

Despite Africa’s immense opportunities, West African businesses, devs & governments are unaware of Cardano potential to solve local problems

Describe your solution to the problem

Entrench Cardano’s cutting edge solutions in the region by engaging & equipping local communities to identify & remove barriers to adoption.

Relevant experience

Team: Sales, Marketing, Project & nonprofit work experience in W/Africa. Project Management, Programming, Analytics, Design, Resource dev’t

Website/GitHub repository (not required)
Detailed plan (not required) – Fill in here any additional details

{Please find attached a copy of this detailed plan section with working reference links}

Purpose of the Project Proposal

  • Responding to the immense opportunities West Africa presents for Cardano blockchain adoption and the continent’s well-documented barriers to adoption of cutting edge digital solutions, the proposers of this Project (West Africa Decentralized Alliance, WADA) seek 297825 ADA for an initial 3 (three) month period from November 15, 2020, to February 15, 2021, to begin entrenching Cardano’s cutting-edge solutions in the subregion and diaspora. This is the beginning of our three-year long-term capacity-building goal to accelerate the creation of dapps and businesses and attract new entrepreneurs into the Cardano ecosystem who are attuned to solving local problems.


  • Our focus will be to work with local communities to remove barriers to adoption through identifying opportunities and building understanding and enabling in implementing digital identity solutions, decentralized finance and access to global markets, product authentication, and traceability solutions. We will carry out the day-to-day activities of research, project implementation, public relations, advocacy, marketing, community engagement, and education using a decentralized, cost-effective, and innovative approach to contribute to Cardano’s overall Africa strategic intentions of bringing blockchain enterprise solutions to the continent. [1] Ultimately and after the 3-year lifespan of this project, we aim to evolve to become a venture capitalist type organization dedicated to growing West African startups dedicated to building on the Cardano protocol.


Strategic Landscape


  • Africa is the world’s second-largest and second most-populous continent after Asia with a wide range of and abundant natural resources. However, the continent is the least wealthy per person throughout the world. “According to a 2014 UK report, Africa receives about $133.7 billion each year from official aid, grants, loans to the private sector, remittances, etc. But at the same time, some $191.9 billion is extracted from the continent in the form of debt repayments, multinational company profits, illicit financial flows, brain drain, illegal logging and fishing etc. And more recent figures put the outflow much higher – at over $218 billion. In other words, Africa suffers a net loss of more than $85 billion every year. Such a net outflow suggests that far from the West aiding Africa, it is Africa that is aiding the West.” Firoze 2018 (Should the West Stop Giving Aid to Africa?)
  • Despite Africa’s wealth challenges, recent economic expansion and the large and young population (average population age of 19 years compares favourably with the world population average age of 30 years) make Africa an important economic market in the broader global context. “Healthy economies are a function of the age of its people. Those with older economies are dying economies, or rearranging economies. This is the case, to some degree with the US, China, Japan, and Europe. The weight of the aging people put on these economies will be significant. Africa is the opposite. It has the youngest population and thus will have the most robust economy of the future. The opportunity here is therefore immense. Also, it’s a way to reimagine how an economy can work. African and those of African descent tend to have a culture of the community. Connecting people in communities and connecting communities to communities is an opportunity awaiting our solution(s)“.-Sidney Nicholas; AfroFinLab


  • From 2010 to 2019, the buying power of Blacks in the US increased a modest but significant 48.1% [2] And it’s well documented the contribution of the overall diaspora for African development [3]
  • Ghana (West Africa), in the realization of the power of the African diaspora, launched the much-publicized ‘2019: Year of return for African Diaspora”

West Africa

  • Through the work of IO Global (IOG), Cardano has made inroads into the East and South African regions but not much presence in the West African subregion
  • West Africa with its population of nearly 377 million, annual GDP of $614,916M and a debt to GDP percentage of only 36.59% in 2018 (Compare: US debt to GDP of 78% in 2018) shows a big upside for economic expansion and is keen to catch up with the West through emerging technological developments and offers an immense opportunity for international investments and therefore a large potential market for what Cardano has to offer.
  • The growth of the Mobile Money economy has been explosive in West Africa with Ghana alone seeing a 45% increase in mobile money transactions in 2019 [5] The market is however capitalized by high fees, interests, and transaction costs and is therefore ripe for blockchain technology disruption in the areas of finance and micro-lending
  • Tailored Cardano enterprise solutions such as Atala Prism, Atala Trace, and Atala Scan will address numerous challenges on the continent as a whole and West Africa in particular.
  • Indeed, Senegalese-American celebrity Akon realizes the West African potential for emerging technology and has secured of $6 billion funding to begin construction of Akon City (‘futuristic cryptocurrency themed city’) in the West African country of Senegal [6] with phase 1 set to complete in 2023
  • Cardano’s current approach of intermittent high profile country visits to spread Cardano and general blockchain awareness or community meet-ups although making for powerful messaging and awareness creation is not a sustainable model in the West Africa subregion due in part to regional socio-economic challenges as well as local political continuity and/or capability to see commitments through.
  • Due to historical challenges and political fragmentation resulting from colonialism, the West Africa subregion alone has 18 distinct Anglophone and Francophone countries- and the region lacks the technological base and cohesion to enable blockchain technology to spread organically
  • The current socio-economic and development landscape forecasts a growing presence of competing blockchain enterprises and Cardano’s current strategy for growing opportunities in the region is not sufficient to compete or fully capitalize on the opportunities.
  • Within the blockchain space, Cardano has by far the most cutting-edge blockchain technology. This Project (West Africa Decentralized Alliance) seeks to drive blockchain technology inclusion in the West Africa subregion and reverse the trend of almost non-existent dapps, businesses, and entrepreneurs building on Cardano protocol in the region.
  • The Cardano Community, Foundation, IOG and Emurgo have demonstrated a consistent intention and commitment to make the Cardano protocol a blockchain for the unbanked.

Strategic Direction

  • This Project will work with the Cardano ecosystem and West African subregional governments and other stakeholders to explore the tokenization of natural resources, improve wider access to financial services in client countries, establish blockchain-based education services in its academic institutions, broaden investor opportunity and decentralized applications and business potential for the Cardano protocol.
  • It will establish a dynamic presence in a financially challenged region and use a feedback loop of education, awareness creation, problem identification, and blockchain technology to ultimately boost the quality of life of local populations as well as increase Cardano investor returns and overall community engagement.
  • “We need to ensure that blockchain education, problem/inefficiency identification (many times this is the base of innovation), funding, and general awareness on Cardano powered solutions are a key focus for West African nations. What does this mean in action? It means education material being produced for developing financial products in Marlowe/general purpose applications on Plutus are sponsored in African universities for finance/business students to innovate. It means we need to scale up the IOHK Africa team (specifically in Ghana and Nigeria and other West African nations). These are certainly just a few, but I am a firm believer that if we put this technology in the hands of builders (backed with the education and funding) they will seek out the inefficiencies in their local communities and build solutions to solve them”. -DC (Dewayne Cameron, Liqwid Protocol, Cardano Community member).
  • This Project will establish a small subregional local working team on the ground in four central areas of West Africa with the main regional hub in Accra, Ghana. Accra has long been the strategic headquarters for key African and West African institutions including the just ratified African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which the World Bank estimates will lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty. The fact that the Ghana Government in Accra has established a Diaspora Engagement Policy and the President is the current Chairman of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) ensures proximity for the Project’s top-down, bottom-up approach to driving adoption.
  • The main and subregional working teams will be managed by a team of international volunteer Cardano Community expertise with combined skills in project management and coordination, communications and networking, legal/accounting reporting, and fundraising. This will ensure a high degree of accountability and ensure continued funding for the life of this project.

Activities over the lifespan of the Project

  • Research: The focus of our research is to work with communities to discover challenges and opportunities for Cardano protocol solutions. We examine the root causes of barriers to adoption, build understanding with communities and stakeholders to remove or reduce barriers to enable adoption.
  • Projects As an international organization with local footprints we aim to equip local developers and entrepreneurs to build decentralized applications and businesses on the Cardano Protocol
  • Public Relations: Collaborate with trusted local and international electronic and print and popular media outlets to inform the public about the benefits of the Cardano protocol to limit fear, uncertainty, and doubt and accelerate adoption
  • Advocacy: To expedite Cardano adoption, we intend to support local as well as international high-profile personalities to influence regional and local policy decisions in West Africa member countries
  • Education: Utilizing our relationship with other projects within the Cardano ecosystem, we will maintain a one-stop-shop virtual education portal and facilitate in-person developer education. We will also work with local academic institutions to incorporate blockchain education into their programs of study
  • Community Engagement: We will use a membership and volunteer system to engage both local and international Cardano community members to leverage skills, experience, and knowledge to spread adoption.
  • Marketing: Our marketing strategy will focus on existing and future businesses and entrepreneurs in the West Africa sub-region. We will provide information, promote, and facilitate the building of businesses on the Cardano protocol.

Major Milestones

Year 1

  • Grow and establish online/virtual programs in all aspects with regular surveys to determine current state, gaps and challenges
  • Establish project management framework and finalize project scope and plan
  • Establish sub-regional on the ground working groups
  • Identify local project sponsor/s and influencers with a role to promote local high-level contacts and government commitments as well facilitate other project goals
  • Plan and begin implementation of developer and business’ training and onboarding program
  • Formalize our disciple model of each-one-bring-one, cohorting recruiting program
  • Outline an on-the-ground current state of blockchain adoption in member countries and form alliances as appropriate.
  • Continually search within Cardano’s Project Catalyst and the wider Cardano ecosystem to identify potential solutions to utilize in West Africa based on local needs assessment
  • Use project goals as a guide to identify and implement low-hanging fruit objectives
  • Report on achievements, finalize year 2 plans, and confirm funding

Year 2

  • Implement key project’s plan goals and objectives
  • Extend online membership scheme to on the ground communities, schools, and academic institutions
  • Design and implement an international volunteer exchange program as an immersive learning experience and greater understanding of developing and developed world experiences for participants
  • Establish and implement a model to manage change and spread learning in other West African Countries borrowing and sharing what works well in member and other countries in line with project goals
  • Start project achievements’ sustainability plan
  • Report on achievements, finalize year 3 plans, and confirm funding

Year 3

  • Continue to Implement the project’s plan goals and objectives on a re-iterative basis
  • Continue to manage change and spread learning in other West African Countries borrowing and sharing what works well in member countries and other countries within Africa and elsewhere
  • Implement and transition to sustainability plan for Project’s achievements; evolving to become a venture capitalist type organization dedicated to growing West African startups dedicated to building on the Cardano protocol.


Instead of setting up an arbitrary long-term road map and measures that pretends to know the definition of success initially, we will position ourselves to respond to emerging opportunities as we explore the problem space. Being attuned to developments within the Cardano ecosystem and the local communities will keep us aware of issues on the horizon whilst allowing for 6 to 12 weeks planning cycles to allow for short windows to correct as needed. We will include periodic retrospectives to ask questions of both ourselves and stakeholders. Is what we are doing working as planned? Should we either pivot direction or adjust our processes? Meanwhile, we will endeavor to report transparently outwards including failures and lessons learned

-For each 6 to 12 weeks planning cadence, we will monitor:

  • -Identified existing developers and businesses in West Africa willing to create on the Cardano protocol
  • -New developers recruited or trained for the Cardano ecosystem
  • -New businesses willing to create on the Cardano protocol
  • -New active and engaged Cardano Ambassadors in unique local communities
  • -Educational institutions willing to include blockchain education in their curriculum
  • -Active Cardano memberships or hubs formed with small business spin-offs
  • -Increase in Cardano protocol transactions originating from West Africa
  • -Agreements including MOUs signed with West African Governments and regional entities to adopt Cardano protocol solutions
  • -Alliances formed with other regional blockchain and poverty reduction stakeholders
  • -Degree of public engagement with our marketing and social media plan

Risk Management

Some risks we anticipate and ways to mitigate are

  • International and local travel restrictions due to the Covid19 pandemic++:++ For our initial 6 to 12 weeks, we will focus our work online as we continue to assess the global impact of Covid19. We have already developed a one-stop-shop comprehensive website to start engaging developers and businesses in the region to start exploring what Cardano has to offer. The website is also meant to cater to individuals who want to find out about Cardano++.++
  • Degree of participant country government’s willingness to participate in this Project: One of the key ways we will address this is through advocacy and having influential local and international individuals understand and carry our message. We will also showcase examples of what has worked elsewhere as examples of what is possible.
  • Availability of local expertise in member countries to contribute to this project: Our plan to first search within our ecosystem to find enthusiasts has already identified 12 Cardano community members either living in or associated with West Africa willing to work with us. We will broaden this strategy to include, equip and apply local individuals, developers, and businesses already interested in blockchain technology.
  • Future political instability and or government changes in member countries: We will have a policy of non-alignment to any one government or political party to ensure that changes to governments do not negatively impact our work in local communities
  • Cardano Protocol or blockchain technology in general not reaching the full potential promised: Although we believe that blockchain technology is here to stay and it’s only a matter of time, we do acknowledge that there may be delays in scaling the technology to widespread use. We will carefully manage expectations through openness and regular communication
  • Other blockchain activities in member countries might constraint this project due to the level of acquired credibility and ability to deliver on promises: While a lot of our strengths will come from partnering with other reputable on the ground blockchain organizations, we will always strive to establish and maintain our brand in an open and forthright manner.
  • Ease of local needs identification and deployment of smart contracts and businesses on Cardano to address identified challenges: Wherever possible, we will seek separate charity focused funding from say the SPO (stake pool operator) community to address rural local needs such as classrooms or clean water as an engagement tool to identify further needs appropriate for blockchain solutions
  • Availability of local expertise in member countries to contribute to this Project: We will adopt and adapt IOG’s approach of free high profile in-person training offerings e.g. Haskell programming language course for East African women. We will determine what course/s to offer after our needs assessment. This will also have the added benefit of creating awareness for the Project
  • Ability of Cardano international community volunteer team to work seamlessly with local teams: During the second year of our project, we will design and implement an international volunteer exchange program as an immersive learning experience and greater understanding of developing and developed world experiences for participants
  • Ability to acquire/create user-friendly blockchain education and awareness creation materials: This has already been identified as a high need venture withing the Cardano ecosystem and both the big 3 (IOG, CF and Emurgo) and various entities within the ecosystem are working to address this need. Our project has identified ‘Cardano Starter Kits + APIs’ (Project Catalyst) as a close collaborative partner to help address this risk on a targeted basis
  • Difficulty obtaining funding: This is from the beginning, a Project of and for the Cardano community. The Project governance structure will comprise a ‘steering’ group of Cardano community members whose role will not only be to direct the work on the ground but also to make sure that the goals of the project continue to align with Cardano’s overall funding ROI (return on intention)

Relationships with other Projects

The strength of our work will be in leveraging the immense synergies both within and outside the Cardano ecosystem. Our current and potential partners are:

  • ABCD, AfroFinLab, Liqwid Finance, Workshop Maybe, and other compatible Cardano ecosystem emerging projects and innovations.
  • IOG (Input Output Global) work in general and in East and Southern Africa
  • Development of the practicality and scale of the Cardano protocol
  • Emurgo’s blockchain business development plans
  • Cardano Foundation and Community support
  • Other blockchain projects already established in the local community
  • Local government’s ongoing development programs
  • International and local nonprofit poverty alleviation programs

Intellectual Property (IP)

  • Any IP related outputs from this Project will be transferred to the ownership of the Cardano Community to be released or not under a license of their choosing.

Initial 3-month Roadmap

Nov-Dec 2020

  • Activate a virtual website & social media platform targeted specifically at communities in West Africa and the West African Diaspora.
  • Conduct a virtual environmental scan to identify and invite already existing Cardano enthusiasts from West African member countries or have roots or interests in West Africa to be part of the project’s core volunteer group

Dec 2020-Jan2021

  • Conduct a virtual scan to identify and invite already existing blockchain enthusiasts in West African member countries and/or in the diaspora to start Project’s membership scheme
  • Initiate project management and coordination framework
  • Access to written Guogen/Marlowe/Plutus step by step fact sheets and guides for developers and businesses and upload to developer and business portal on the Project’s website

Jan-Feb 2021

  • Design and administer online survey of volunteers and members to determine current state, gaps and challenges to widespread adoption
  • Use data from survey to finalize project management and coordination framework
  • Research and produce a more comprehensive and informed business plan, strategy, and roadmap as a basis to secure funding as well as guide project work

Initial 3-month Outputs & Targets

Nov-Dec 2020

  • Functioning well-maintained website: Target; with well-defined education and marketing plan for 600+ unique visits per month
  • A tailored follow-up to each respondent of our virtual membership drive invitationTarget; 60+ per month

Dec 2020-Jan2021

  • Tiered membership/volunteer database:Target; 3 tiered volunteer/membership scheme catering to individuals, developers, and businesses
  • Differentiated regular meetings/activities according to members’ knowledge and participation level: Target; at least 1 meeting per month for each member/volunteer level
  • Businesses and developers’ fact sheets and guides on Guogen and Marlowe posted to project website: Target; Up-to-date fact sheets and other Cardano information on Marlowe and Guogen posted to the website as they become available.
  • Linked developers/businesses to Guogen/Marlowe-related activities within the Cardano ecosystem Target; actively identify and connect developers and businesses to Guogen/Marlowe related activities as they become available

Jan-Feb 2021

  • Survey designed and administered: Target; get high-quality information from responders regarding barriers for businesses and devs to build on Cardano
  • Project management & coordination framework established with named members:Target; Operational by the beginning of 3rd month with clear Terms of Reference
  • Business plan to secure funding Target; 1-3 year Project goals set and funding obtained

Budget Breakdown for 3 months

297825 ADA

  • Project management/coordination/volunteer and 2 FTE personnel costs x3 months total costs -210000 ADA
  • Logo and website development one-time costs & honorarium – 15000 ADA
  • Database management and communication one-time cost equipment and software – 30000 ADA
  • Marketing/Communication software/Internet monthly x3 total costs -15750 ADA
  • Plus, 10% percent incidental -27075 ADA


The Proposing TEAM

The only thing tying this team together is Project Catalyst; we discovered each other either through Twitter, Telegram, or personal reference. We each bring our passions and skills/businesses to this Project. Funding will enable us to bring even more West African/diaspora people, developers, and enterprises into the Cardano community.

Mercy has a combined 25+ years’ experience in Project Management and Engagement (West Africa, Canada) Healthcare (UK, Canada) and brings a wealth of experience and passion to this Project. She became hooked on Cardano when in early 2018, she listened to Charles Hoskinson’s London School Economics “Cardano’s Goals for Africa” talk and deeply identified with the message due to her B.Sc. degree in Renewable Natural Resources Management study in Ghana West Africa and her subsequent work there in forestry and wildlife conservation. She currently works part-time in one of the largest healthcare organizations in Canada and looking to split her time between West Africa and Canada. In 2019, she was one of the co-leads of a team that won the AHS (Alberta Health Services) President Excellence Award in Quality Improvement.

Jacob is a creative Ghanaian graphic & web designer. He is also a Cardano enthusiast who began exploring the power of blockchain technology in 2016. He believes that with education, West Africa Decentralized Alliance has the potential to serve as an eye-opener to local authorities and businesses in the Western part of Africa. Jacob is currently self-employed as a graphic and web designer and lives in Accra, Ghana.

Thierno is a sales professional who currently splits his time between Guinea and Ivory Coast (West Africa) He has been in the blockchain space since (2013) and Cardano since (2017) He is passionate about bringing the benefits of blockchain technology in Africa particularly to French speakers in West Africa

Azeezat is a Muslim, mother, trainee counselor, writer, and knitter. These roles have fostered, developed, and consistently stretched her interest in people, and the ways to greater connectivity, both intrapersonal and interpersonally. She firmly believes that people do the best that they can with the tools that are available to them. She sees Cardano and its decentralization ethos as a massively impactful resource with the potential to allow people to do better for and in their communities. Azeezat lives in London UK and is very active on social media.

Prince is the founder of Abode, Ghana’s first mobile-based hostel online marketplace. He has been programming for 4 years, has interned at Vodafone as a software developer. He and his team won the 2019 blockchain-dubbed Hacklab Hackathon. Prince lives in Accra, Ghana.

Sidney brings years of experience and a diverse skill set to WADA. He has been on the leading edge of digital, social, and cognitive technology since early on in his career. His experience includes Co-Founder of Success Tracks, a personal development company in Santa Clarita, CA, and Associate Director of Analytics at Harte Hank, a Fortune 500 company. After finding Bitcoin in 2015, he has remained active in using, evangelizing, and supporting projects in the blockchain/cryptocurrency space. He is the Project’s first Steering group member.

Requested funds in ada. Only use numbers! No symbols, letters, fractions. 297825

Which of these definitions apply to you? Entrepreneur

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