While the civil war has been bloodying it for nine years, the Central African Republic is trying to be at the forefront of virtual currencies. Bangui thus officially launched on Sunday the construction of its own cryptocurrency, the Sango, and the future “first African crypto-hub” with “zero taxation”.
Two months after making his country the second in the world after El Salvador to adopt bitcoin as its official currency, alongside the CFA franc, and legalize the use of cryptocurrencies, President Faustin Archange Touadéra made the announcement during an “online event” to launch “a new digital system powered by Blockchain technology”. On the other hand, no concrete details have been delivered on the terms and timetable for the creation of this “Sango Coin” and of a “Crypto Island”, a platform allowing this virtual currency to become “the catalyst for the tokenization of the vast natural resources” of the Central African Republic.
This “Sango initiative”, from the name of the official language alongside French, comes in the midst of a cryptocurrency crisis in the world, where the price of bitcoin is in freefall and where many crypto platforms are at risk of bankruptcy.
Regretting that Africa, “where 57% of the population is unbanked”, suffers from a crying lack of “infrastructure” making “financial services almost inaccessible to many inhabitants”, Faustin Archange Touadéra asserted “ having found the solution”: “the smartphone”, to trade and invest in cryptocurrencies.
Very difficult access to electricity and internet
“The smartphone is the alternative to traditional banking, cash and financial bureaucracy,” said the president of the second least developed country in the world according to the UN. Only 14.3% of the more than 5 million inhabitants will have access to electricity in 2022, and even less to the Internet, of which 71% live below the international poverty line and more than half need humanitarian aid , according to the World Bank.
“The Central African Republic sits on a mountain of untapped wealth”, including gold, diamonds, rare metals, and “Sango Coin will be the direct access to our resources for the whole world” to attract investors and “start the engines of the economy”, enthused the Head of State.
At the end of April, the adoption of bitcoin as a reference currency had aroused perplexity and reprobation on the part of an international community already reproaching the power of Faustin Archange Touadéra for having delivered his country to Russia and to the “mercenaries” of the sulphurous Wagner, accused of “looting” her resources in exchange for military support against the rebels.