Central African Republic gives legal tender to its own cryptocurrency
The Central African Republic (CAR), today launched its first cryptocurrency, with the name “sango”, after becoming at the end of last April the second country in the world and the first in Africa to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, alongside the CFA franc.
“It is a historic moment, the dream of a president for the reconstruction of the Central African Republic. The cryptocurrency is revolutionary. It will democratize democracy,” said the country’s president, Faustin Archange Touadéra, at a virtual presentation on Sunday.
The president intends that the new digital currency will enable the country’s natural resources to be put to good use.
In May, a month after the adoption of bitcoin, a group of international experts was invited to the country to participate in a debate on the introduction of the cryptocurrency in the national economy.
Last September 7, El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as a legal exchange currency, alongside the US dollar.
Immediately, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged the Central American country, governed by President Nayib Bukele, to “eliminate the legal tender status” of bitcoin and expressed its “concern” about the issuance of bonds backed with the cryptocurrency.
The financial institution has also shown concern following the decision taken by the Central African government.
A country ravaged by violence
CAR, whose economy relies heavily on mining, has suffered systemic violence since late 2012, when a coalition of Muslim-majority rebel groups – the Séléka – seized the capital, Bangui, and overthrew President François Bozizé after ten years of government (2003-2013), kicking off a civil war.
As a resistance against the Séléka attacks, Christian anti-Balaka militias were then formed, which, like the first group, ended up divided into several armed factions.
Shortly before the presidential elections of December 27, 2020 – which the opposition asked to annul after more than 40% of the polling stations could not be opened due to insecurity – several armed groups united to form the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), which tried to take the capital in January 2021.
In October of that year, Touadéra declared a unilateral ceasefire with the aim of facilitating national dialogue.
Despite these advances, two thirds of the country – rich in diamonds, uranium and gold – are still controlled by militias and, according to the UN, some 692,000 people are internally displaced.