Crypto is key to tackling financial exclusion: CAR president

04 Jul 2022

Central African Republic (CAR) president, Faustin-Archange Touadera said on Sunday that cryptocurrencies are the key to combatting financial exclusion in the country.

“The alternative to cash is cryptocurrency,” the president said during the launch of the Sango crypto initiative hosted by the Central African Republic. The country became the first in Africa to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender back in April. “For us, the formal economy is no longer an option.”

However, the move has perplexed crypto enthusiasts, lawmakers and residents, in a country where internet usage is minimal, and electricity is unreliable. The International Monetary Fund cautioned: "The adoption of a cryptocurrency as legal tender entails large risks for financial and market integrity, financial stability and consumer protection.”

The so-called Sango project, which includes a ‘Sango Coin’, received backing from the Central African Republic's National Assembly and was led by the president, who said the coin would facilitate access to the CAR’s “mountain” of natural resources, such as gold and diamonds, Reuters reports.

According to the Sango website, it will “facilitate the tokenization of Central African Republic's resources for worldwide investors.”

"Sango Coin will be the currency of the new generation of the Central African Republic," Touadera stated.

As President Touadera signed the measure into law, his chief of staff Obed Namsio commented at the time: “The CAR is the first country in Africa to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. This move places the Central African Republic on the map of the world's boldest and most visionary countries," he added.

The enthusiasm for crypto by the Central African Republic doesn’t appear to have been hampered by the recent volatility, with Bitcoin’s price declining more than 58% over the past three months, as per Refinitiv data.