Central African Republic passes law to implement use of digital currency
The Central African Republic (CAR) has passed a law that allows foreign investment in cryptocurrencies, after last year adopting Bitcoin and its own digital currency, the Sango as legal tender.
A bill was passed by acclamation, National Assembly president Simplice Mathieu Sarandji announced late Monday.
The law comes after the CAR — one of the poorest countries in the world — suddenly announced in April 2022 that it had adopted Bitcoin as legal currency.
Three months later, the CAR unveiled plans to launch its own digital currency, the Sango.
The announcements sparked bemusement among analysts, given the entrenched poverty and lack of infrastructure in a country where only one person in seven has access to mains electricity.
The new law for the “tokenisation” of “natural and land resources” sets down the framework “for using the Bitcoin and Sango virtual currencies in the investment process,” according to the text.
This includes “foreign nationals wishing to invest in mining, agricultural and forestry assets,” it said.
Investors “have the right to transfer abroad all annual profits accruing to them after payment of taxes, duties and other obligations,” it added.
Opposition MPs accused the government of staging “the selloff of natural resources to the world’s gangsters.”
Landlocked and mineral-rich but dirt-poor, the CAR has experienced few periods of stability since gaining independence from France in 1960.
President Faustin Archange Touadera is under scrutiny for bringing in Russian paramilitaries to help shore up his regime against armed rebel groups.
Critics accuse him of paying for the help with gold and diamonds.
The CAR is the first country in Africa to embrace Bitcoin as a national currency, and the second in the world after El Salvador.