The Central African Republic (CAR) has launched its new government-backed Sango crypto hub initiative to foster the development of the local digital asset sector.
The Sango project follows the CAR’s adoption of Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender in April. The initiative aims to attract businesses and global crypto talent/enthusiasts, ramp up local BTC adoption and oversee the rollout of crypto regulatory frameworks and infrastructure. A metaverse platform dubbed The Crypto Island and Sango Coin is also in the works.
Speaking at the launch event on Sunday, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra outlined the vision for Sango is to have a “common cryptocurrency and an integrated capital market that could stimulate commerce and sustain growth.”
One of the key points President Touadéra emphasized was financial inclusion and the importance of citizens being able to gain access to crypto via a smartphone easily. He drew comparisons with the underutilized banking sector in CAR, which has several barriers to entry:
“The citizens will gain at every level, they will live in a country in full economic development, which means employment and prosperity. Moreover, they will benefit from virtual transactions which, in contrast to traditional banking, have the advantage of rapid access, fast execution, lack of bureaucracy, and low cost.”
“This technology will give an identity to the continent by reducing cost. This vision is perfect, and we do not have the time to wait. [...] For us, the formal economy is no longer an option,” he added.
Despite the CAR president’s bullishness for the project, the World Bank stated in May that it will not be “supporting Sango” over transparency concerns and “potential implications for financial inclusion.”
Sango is backed by the CAR’s National Assembly and is being driven primarily by President Touadéra. While many specifics are yet to be detailed, a significant focus of the project will be to tokenize the country’s abundant natural resources to open up greater investment access to them.
Citizen identity and ownership of assets will also be tokenized as a nonfungible token (NFT). Additionally, Crypto Island will play a crucial part in facilitating this ecosystem and serve as a way for verified users to gain access to tokenized assets.
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The expanded Bitcoin support will also see the development of a local wallet built for BTC and the Lighting Network.