(Bloomberg) -- The Central African Republic has begun creating a legal framework to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies, Finance Minister Herve Ndoba said.

Lawmakers last week adopted proposals including the creation of a regulatory body that will have oversight of digital currencies, Ndoba said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C. The legislation that’s being put in place aims to facilitate the use of cryptocurrencies in the economy, he said.

“There’s a common narrative that sub-Saharan African countries are often one step behind when it comes to adapting to new technology,” Ndoba said. “This time, we can actually say that our country is one step ahead.”

Ndoba said the proposed legislation isn’t an attempt to follow the lead of El Salvador, which in September became the first country to introduce Bitcoin as legal tender.

The Central African Republic, which has gold and diamond reserves, is yet one of the world’s poorest countries. Years of violent conflict and a political crisis that gripped the country in the lead up to presidential elections in December 2020 have had a severe impact on the economy and damaged relations with its international partners, leading to delays in the distribution of vital aid.

Internet penetration in the landlocked nation is about 11% of the 5 million population, according to DataReportal, an online data portal. 

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