Over the course of 5th June – 16th June 2023, I had the opportunity to teach a Financial Technology and Blockchain postgraduate course to a group of students enrolled in the newly launched Master of Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science degree at the University of Antananarivo, the leading academic institution in Madagascar. The opportunity to teach the course was a result of a collaboration between the University of Antananarivo, the University of Cape Town’s Financial Innovation Hub and the Algorand Foundation.
The cohort of 20 students comprised a mix of working professionals and students with backgrounds in mathematics, economics, statistics and engineering. During the course, the students learnt about financial systems, innovation and disruption, blockchain fundamentals and a hands on deep dive into the Algorand blockchain – including the Algorand Python SDK and smart contracts (using PyTeal). Reflecting on the teaching experience, I appreciated that in this digital age, development of blockchain skills at tertiary level is absolutely necessary (and is the bare minimum), especially if Africa is going to realise its potential and produce locally grown solutions to provide employment and economic agency. It was an incredible privilege to be part of this initiative, and to be involved in hands-on skills development and knowledge transfer in Madagascar.