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Central African Republic becomes first country to tokenize land and natural resources

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(Kitco News) - Central African Republic (CAR) continues to be a test bed for the integration of blockchain technology with the launch of an initiative that will see the country’s land and natural resources tokenized and sold on the blockchain.

The new initiative was announced by the Sango project team on Monday, with the team declaring that “the Central African Republic is ushering in a new era of financial empowerment through blockchain technology.”

The Sango project is responsible for the release of the Sango Coin, a “national digital currency” that was launched by the CAR in July 2022. The token enables foreign investors to buy citizenship for $60,000 worth of crypto, with an equivalent amount of Sango Coins held as collateral for five years, and “e-residency” for $6,000, held for three years, according to the Sango website.

The CAR also made headlines in April 2022 after it became the second country (after El Salvador) to accept Bitcoin as legal tender alongside the CFA Franc. That law was ultimately reversed a year later, with BTC now seen as a benchmark cryptocurrency, and the Sango coin is also fractionally backed by Bitcoin.

The new initiative from the CAR legislative body has granted approval for the tokenization of land and natural resources as the country looks to become a preferred business destination in Africa.

“The Central African Republic has made a major shift towards adopting an innovative system for mobilizing financial resources aimed at promoting the development of local communities,” a press release from the President of the CAR said. “This strategic shift involves the adoption of blockchain technology.”

CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadéra enacted Law No. 23.010 on July 24, which governs the tokenization of natural resources and rights in the country, after the National Assembly unanimously approved the initiative.

“This innovative legislative framework, adopted for the first time in the world, will enable the Central African Republic to become one of the most business-friendly environments on the African continent,” the release said. “It ushers our country into an era of transformation where individuals, domestic and foreign, can easily set up their own businesses and obtain their business e-visas directly online.”

“In addition, they can obtain licenses for businesses in the fields of real estate, agriculture, exploitation of natural resources, and logging,” said Obed Namsio, President Touadéra’s chief of staff. “Each of these companies will operate seamlessly through the Sango platform, leveraging the capabilities of blockchain technology.”

“The Presidency of the Republic considers that this innovative approach marks a decisive step in the path of the Central African Nation towards sustainable economic growth and international financial preeminence,” the release concluded.

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Resource tokenization was a long-term goal of the Sango project when it launched as it will help make investing in the CAR easier via the Sango coin.

Adoption of the Sango coin has thus far been lackluster, however, as the government only managed to sell 8 million of the 200 million tokens made available during the token's initial coin offering (ICO), with CAR citizens showing little interest in the token.

According to the Sango website, the tokenization of resources “means that they would be available to investors worldwide through the Sango Blockchain & Sango App, using SANGO coins. The direct impact of tokenization is the access to capital through the monetization of natural resources, being achieved in a transparent and democratic way, while enabling broader participation through fractionalization.”

The Sango website shows that the CAR is estimated to have iron deposits valued at $2.2 trillion, diamond deposits valued at $258 billion, gold deposits valued at $60 billion, graphite deposits valued at $7 billion, uranium deposits valued at $5 billion, and limestone deposits valued at $2 billion.

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