By Rachel Sauvage
LONDON (Reuters) – Cryptocurrencies are the solution to tackling financial exclusion in the Central African Republic, its president Faustin-Archange Touadera said on Sunday, citing the cost of opening bank accounts.
“The alternative to cash is cryptocurrency,” Touadera said at a launch event for the country’s Sango crypto initiative, after it became the first African state to hold a course. bitcoin legal in april. “For us, the formal economy is no longer an option.”
The move to embrace cryptocurrencies in a country with low internet usage and unreliable electricity has raised eyebrows among crypto pundits, puzzled lawmakers and residents, and drew warnings from the International Monetary Fund.
The Sango project, including a “Sango Coin”, was backed 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 oil. gold and diamonds.
The country’s “Sango” website https://sango.org/initiative says it will “facilitate the tokenization of Central African Republic resources for investors around the world.”
“The Sango Coin will be the currency of the new generation of the Central African Republic,” Touadera said, without giving details.
The Central African Republic’s enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies does not appear to have been shaken by recent losses in their values, with the price of bitcoin having fallen more than 58% in the past three months, according to data from Refinitiv.
(Reporting by Rachel Savage; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Jan Harvey)