Ethereum co-founder, last week, arrived in Zambia for a continuation of efforts to make the Southern African nation a hub for crypto. In the company of Vicky Coleman, Yoseph Ayele, and other top Ethereum executives, Vitalik met with the special assistant to the Zambian president, Jito Kayumba, to discuss pathways for boosting crypto development in emerging markets like Zambia and attracting investment in the state.
The move comes barely a year after the current Zambian president, Hakainde Hichilema, lauded the efforts of the billionaire founder toward its national dream as Africa’s destination tech hub. Vitalik had expressed optimism for collaboration in a phone call with the president last year.
Technology for Economic Liberation
According to the International Labour Organization, one in four Zambians, 24 years of age or under, have no viable source of income. The situation is dire in rural areas where literacy is low, and access to technology is significantly limited.
President Hichilema has begun steps to create an opportunity out of the challenge by establishing a Ministry of Technology and Science headed by Mr Felixstowe Mutati. The goal is to grow Zambia’s technology capacity and reduce the country’s dependence on Copper, which remains one of its biggest mineral exports.
A Digital Economy Underway
Vitalik’s visit coincides with the recent government efforts to propose regulatory measures for cryptocurrencies. These measures will form part of a larger structure to herald the development of CBDCs, which it disclosed last year.
Felix Mutati, last week at the country’s capital, Lusaka, stated that the country “has created magnetism that attracts investments, and it is one country in Africa becoming a must-be place for investment.” This was in response to the government’s target plans to rake in $4.7 million through digital payment infrastructure that drives inclusion and change.
Crypto growth in African countries
A few weeks ago, Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, topped the global search list for the word “Bitcoin”, making it the world’s most Bitcoin-curious country. On the heel of growing currency restrictions, the price of Bitcoin in Nigeria rose to $27,000 last month, signifying a growing demand.
Alternatively, the country’s CBDC efforts show dismal progress, with less than 2% of the country reportedly making a paltry $10 million in aggregated transactions sixteen months after launch. Zambia hopes the expertise of the Ethereum co-founder can help avoid stablecoin pitfalls like that of Nigeria.