President of the Central African Republic: Crypto is key to financial inclusion
Fri, Jul 15th 2022, by naiane
Cryptocurrencies are the solution to combating financial exclusion in the Central African Republic, its president Faustin-Archange Touadera said on Sunday, citing the cost of opening bank accounts as an example.
The decision to adopt cryptocurrencies in a country where internet usage is low and electricity is unreliable raised eyebrows among cryptocurrency experts, lawmakers and puzzled residents and drew words of caution from the International Monetary Fund.
The Sango project, including a “Sango Coin”, was supported by the National Assembly of the Central African Republic and led by Touadera, who said the token would provide access to the country’s “mountain” of natural resources, including gold and diamonds.
The country’s Sango website says it will facilitate the tokenization of Central African Republic resources for investors around the world.
The Central African Republic has adopted bitcoin as its official currency, the presidency said on Wednesday, becoming the first country in Africa and only the second in the world to do so.
Despite rich reserves of gold and diamonds, the Central African Republic is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world and has been gripped by rebel violence for years.
A bill governing the use of cryptocurrencies was unanimously passed by parliament last week, said a statement signed by Obed Namsio, chief of staff to President Faustin-Archange Touadera.
In the statement, he called it “a decisive step to open up new opportunities for our country.”
The Central African Republic is one of six nations that use the Central African CFA franc, a regional currency governed by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC).
Two of the country’s former prime ministers last week signed a letter expressing concern over the adoption of bitcoin without BEAC guidance, calling it a serious offense.
El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as a legal tender last year, but the launch was hampered by skepticism and delayed a proposed bitcoin bond in March amid global market turmoil.
African governments have taken a varied approach to regulating cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
Nigeria’s central bank banned local banks from working with cryptocurrencies last year before launching its own digital currency, eNaira.
South African regulators have been exploring the potential regulation of cryptocurrencies and other blockchain technologies, and the central bank of Tanzania said last year that it was working on a presidential directive to prepare for cryptocurrencies.