AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - Concern over the announcement of the Central African electronic currency

Friday, 8 July 2022 bishops   economy  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "The Sango will be the currency of the next generation", said the President of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, on Sunday, July 3, announcing the Central African cryptocurrency project, called the Sango. The announcement comes two months after the Central African Republic, the second largest country in the world after El Salvador, adopted bitcoin as its official currency, along with the CFA franc, legalizing the use of cryptocurrencies. No concrete details have been given on the terms and timetable for the creation of "Sango Coin" and "Crypto Island", a platform for this virtual currency to become the catalyst for virtual exchange of the country's vast natural resources.
Regretting that Africa, "where 57% of the population does not have a bank account", suffers from a flagrant lack of "infrastructure" that makes "financial services practically inaccessible to many inhabitants", President Touadéra declared that he had "found the solution": the smartphone for trading and investing in cryptocurrencies.
The initiative of the Central African President has raised several perplexities in the country, at a time when cryptocurrencies are in crisis around the world, with the price of bitcoin in free fall and several cryptocurrency platforms at risk of bankruptcy. The Central African Bishops themselves, in their message at the end of the Plenary Assembly (see Fides, 30/6/2022) had stated that "the issue of cryptocurrency is cause for concern".
Opponents and civil society organizations denounce that the "precipitation" and "opacity" of the cryptocurrency policy is "radically contrary to the sovereignty" of the country, according to the G-16 Platform, the Action Group of Civil Society Organizations for the Defense of the Constitution of March 30, 2016. To produce electronic currencies, it is necessary to have access to abundant electricity and Internet connections. The Central African Republic is the second least developed country in the world according to the UN, where only 14.3% of the more than 5 million inhabitants have access to electricity in 2022, and even less to the Internet (557,000 people), 71 % of whom live below the international poverty line (less than $1.90 a day) and more than half are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the World Bank. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 8/7/2022)