Web3 in central Africa
When one speaks of Web3 and where its innovation of it comes from, they would solemnly mention any African country let alone central Africa. We do not hear much about Web3 from Africa. When we do it usually concerns west Africa, specifically Nigeria with their new startup unicorns such as flutter wave.
If not west Africa then East Africa, specifically Kenya, and their mobile banking takeover and recent crypto-buying trend. If not Nigeria or Kenya, then surely South Africa as it has more web3-based startups, although none reached unicorn status yet.
When we think of the applications of Web3 in Africa such as cryptocurrencies, decentralized finance (DeFi), Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), or blockchain technology, either one or all, we don’t think of central Africa. Why not?
The countries which are in the central Africa area such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Cameroon, Gabon, etc are almost all unstable. Mostly due to internal and external warfare with different militia groups. Central African Republic (CAR) is no exception to this rule. It has been in a civil war that has splintered the nation into bits and pieces.
The formal democratically elected government has only recently, as last year, get a hold of most of their country once again. You might see the devastation that has been left in the Central African Republic and ask “How bad is the devastation? How does it correlate with web3?” let’s explore this.
“How bad is the devastation?” Central African Republic is ranked 188 out of 189 countries on the human development index (HDI). What does that mean? It means they are completely behind the rest of the world on all metrics of progress. They have a small population of 5 million people and natural minerals worth more than 3 trillion dollars. Yet have an annual GDP of 2 billion USD.
They do not have enough money to jump-start their economy after its devastation. Not enough money to start mining their own resources to make more money either. To get this money a country would take monetary aid but that creates a culture of co-dependence and obedience. How about loans? the amount of money they’d need to borrow would make the loan improbable to pay back for a very long time.
Stick to small-scale farming of needed produce? that would boost their economy but not enough to pull them up as quickly as they need it. Then what are they planning to do? They took a risk and are now making a groundbreaking leap in the ways of Web3!
What is the Sango Project
The Sango project is definitely an interesting Web3 prospect. They even legalized bitcoin as legal tender just before the announcement of the project because of its Web3 nature. But what exactly is it and how will it help the people of the CAR?
In the words of Faustin-Archange Touadéra, the president of CAR himself
“A common cryptocurrency and an integrated capital market that could stimulate commerce and sustain growth”.
Even if he said this, what does the project offer that warrants investment or interest?
- A digital currency backed by bitcoin named Sango coin (or Sango). This makes it a cryptocurrency-backed stable coin. This also means that the Sango project’s Web3 blockchain activity will be run on a side-chain of the main bitcoin blockchain network and utilize the Proof-of-Work (PoW)consensus protocol.
- The country treasury will have a dedicated bitcoin reserve. This ensures the strength of bitcoin by providing scarcity and showing the practicality of cryptocurrency usage, especially in governmental institutions.
- Future voting for particular topics or subjects will be voted on by the citizens of CAR through a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). This creates equal voting opportunities for all citizens and could be considered the epitome of a democratic-libertarian voting system as it is done on a secure blockchain which ensures safety and fairness.
- One is able to attain citizenship to CAR by buying a fixed amount of Sango coins. This means the Sango coin is not just backed by bitcoin but also backed by the country and resources themselves! This is because cryptocurrency leverages everything in the country. From the people to the resources and to the services offered, all these are benefits only citizens have. As a bonus, this action will also ensure stability during crypto-market fluctuations!
- Fixed residency can be obtained by buying a fixed amount of Sango coins. This residency is meant for businesses. By buying fixed residency you get 0% income tax from any cryptocurrencies for the business on the property. You get online company registration in CAR. You also receive a private app that helps with asset management for both individuals and businesses. This strategy reduces overall bureaucracy which saves time and effort, which is important in the Web3 space. The nature of this approach really favors digital and tech entrepreneurs the most.
- CAR wishes to decentralize the land and property of the country. Whatever real plot is bought and held by the user, the Metaverse replica of the plot will copy the look with a 1:1 representation. Each plot is in the extended Crypto City which is an extension of the capital of Bangui. You get full access to the Metaverse and plot through the Metaverse Sango app!
To summarise all the points in an easily digestible manner. The Sango project is the world’s first wide-scale Web 3 governmental project. It allows buying of land in a Metaverse reflecting real-life land. Allows usage of a government-backed cryptocurrency coin pegged to the bitcoin, which by buying you can attain citizenship or working rights for your business as well as have an equal say in open governmental endeavors through a DAO.
Why would they do this
Originally we said that the Sango Project is, by nature, a project which is being used by the CAR government to get as much investment back in the country by leveraging the resources. They are not just doing this because cryptocurrencies will be the new currencies of the future or even because of all the hype around NFTs, the Metaverse, and other Web3-related matters.
They also see the future as Web3 based, that the future of governance is decentralized and blockchain-based! They are setting a precedent in technological innovation and they want their shattered country to reconcile over the now great tangible future it can produce.
For the foreseeable future, they are looking at great challenges. Not from the inception of the blockchain technology or the cryptocurrency technology per se, but to get their own people to invest in the project. Why would this be hard? Here is a short list of current problems they face:
- They are directly surrounded by countries that have an implicit ban on cryptocurrencies, NFTs, Metaverse technology, or anything to do with Web3.
- They are surrounded by other war-torn countries which makes the environment for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) very harsh and scary with, most likely, little to no return rate for traditional business ventures.
- Only 3% of the population has access to electricity. This means endeavors such as crypto mining or Web3 development or any industry which needs vast amounts of electricity input are almost completely hampered.
- Only 10% of those with access to electricity have access to the internet. This means that currently in CAR there are only 483,000 people who can potentially join the web3 space. However, to be realistic, the amount of people who can afford to get into the IT industry and support the Sango Project or other cryptocurrencies or the Metaverse is probably less than 5000 of that 483,000.
We now know exactly what the ambition of web3 in central Africa is through the Sango project. We know the obstacles facing cryptocurrency adoption, Metaverse adoption, and Web3 expansion of CAR. Should the Sango project be continued? Should CAR stop its progress and label it a meaningless pursuit? No. CAR should go on to support the Sango project and continue until the project is done. Why? Because the Sango project is their best chance to finally step onto the world stage and get the means to improve their lives whilst also propelling the world forward in the most important way.
Through decentralized governmental systems in Web3 and cryptocurrency and Metaverse innovations that can propel its country and the region as a whole forward. The magnitude of the Sango project can not be understated or underestimated in terms of the effect it will have on the world of Web3 and decentralization. A country with almost nothing to lose trying to gain everything it can through Web3. This is definitely something to keep our eyes on for the next few years!
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