(Credit: Thomas Lewton)

The youngest tech pioneer in Ethiopia

Betelhem Dessie’s initiatives have taught 20,000 children how to code, launching Ethiopia’s next generation toward a successful future in tech.

Ethiopia, despite nearly 20 years of steady economic growth, still has one of the lowest GDPs per capita in the world. While the majority of the country contributes to its agriculture-based economy, growing sectors of tech-savvy youths are forging a new path.

And Ethiopia isn’t alone. As start-up hubs sprout all across Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana – often backed by A-list investors – a new generation is turning its attention toward innovation. The idea is simple: create local solutions to local problems through tech.

Betelhem Dessie, 19, is one of the youngest tech pioneers in Ethiopia. Over the last three years, in addition to patenting several software programs, she has travelled the country teaching students how to code and conducting innovation workshops. So far, she has reached more than 20,000 young people.

“In developed countries, technology is creating a comfort or a convenience.” she says. “Whereas in Ethiopia it’s creating a necessity.”

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