The Ubuntu tribe together we rise!

Africa is considered poor, yet we all know Africa is immensely rich, not just of its marvelous and numerous natural resources but also rich in its people with their immense talent, culture, creativity, and resilience. What Africa is truly poor of is “opportunities” to nurture, harness and showcase such tangible and intangible wealth. That’s what came to my mind and changed my life forever a few months after joining the prestigious Senior High School, Lycée Louis Grand in Paris (France).

A few months earlier indeed the principal of my Junior High School recommended my parents to apply for that unique school where the French and European future high intellect elite with super high grades adolescents converge to prepare for a golden path towards occupying key positions in society or be at the forefront of scientific research and human advancement. I was the only black kid in that school. A very strong ha-ha moment struck me as I realized how fortunate and privileged I was to be surrounded by so many highly intelligent people very future-oriented.

Nevertheless, this feeling of pride was strongly tamed by an even stronger sentiment of injustice. Indeed, “Why me”? I was born and spent my childhood in Africa, Cameroon to be precise, arriving in France with my parents as immigrants, I realized early that the gap in opportunities was ridiculously big. Indeed, there were so many young Africans smarter than me that deserved to be in such a school but will never get a chance and would most probably end up jobless because of a lack of opportunities back home. I found it unfair and could not deal with the fact that if talent and intelligence were a human attribute evenly distributed across the planet equal access to opportunities was not evenly distributed?

From that moment on, I made a pledge to myself: all along with my life I would do everything in my capacity to ensure as many people as possible get equal access to opportunities regardless of wealth at birth or place of birth. When we started Ubuntu Tribe a few years ago we made this principle the Vision for the company. Ubuntu Tribe idea started from a similar realization.

Considering that Africa was host to 46% of the global gold deposit, how come African currencies keep on depreciating, and its people purchasing power constantly dwindles while Gold price jumped by 500% over the past 20 years and 5000% since Richard Nixon decoupling of dollar to gold in 1971. Unfortunately, this is not just the fate of Africa like many other regions and emerging markets like Latin America, South East Asia suffer the same paradox. Moreover, none of those countries’ local currencies was accepted beyond their local borders and this was leading to further exclusion from the global economy. Something didn’t sound right.

Luckily due to my 20 years of experience in Investment Banking and Development Finance focusing on investment in technologies (Telecoms, Energy, Fintech, Greentech, etc.) I was exposed early to blockchain technology. I, therefore, thought to myself why don’t we just use blockchain technology to democratize access to gold so that anyone, anywhere at any time could buy gold and be delivered a digital gold certificate.

Indeed why not make this very asset available to all (especially those living on the very land where gold is extracted). Gold is indeed an asset class recognized for its stable growth and its worldwide acceptance? Gold always had value across human civilizations and geographies from Dar Es Salaam to Detroit from Hong Kong to Calcutta. Today, blockchain technology makes it possible to issue digital title equivalents guaranteeing ownership of physical assets (real estate, works of art, metals and precious stones, company shares, etc.). This is done by splitting the digital asset into very small units. For example, it is now possible to hold micro-parts of a company or a fraction of a flat or property represented by digital tokens, more commonly known as “Tokens”.

Ubuntu Tribe has used this method to allow the African population and the rest of the world to finally invest in gold for minute quantities of gold, like 1 mg representing a value of less than $5 cts. GIFT is the name of the digital token. GIFT coin is 100% backed by gold and our aim is to bring GIFTS to all! The gold purchased by Ubuntu Tribe’s customers is kept in highly secure vaults in strategic locations around the world-renowned for their safety. This gold is not only insured but also audited monthly by major auditing firms to give the customers the assurance and comfort of the existence, completeness and value of the gold reflected in the digital certificates held on their mobile phones. As gold is fungible, customers can exchange their digital tokens with one another or honor their local, intra-regional or international exchanges due to gold high liquidity.

In a context where the African subsoil holds more than 46% of the world’s gold reserves, the opportunity offered by Ubuntu Tribe is therefore a unique opportunity to make Africans benefit directly from the advantages of their natural resources, which are often exported without their benefit. Considering that the digital world has no borders such opportunity is de facto available to all.

Ubuntu aims at simplifying the process and making that opportunity accessible to all. Customers will download a UWallet from Android or Smartphone (Google Play or App store) and purchase GIFT digital coins using their Nasuba card to make their payment. This could also be achieved without a smartphone. Their entire investment is in gold, as evidenced by the forgery-proof digital title deeds in their e-wallets enabled by blockchain technology. They are, however, able to withdraw the cash equivalent amount of their gold at any time with their provided Ubuntu/ Visa/Mastercard debit card to access liquidity.

But why choose the name Ubuntu? Why is it important? I discovered the meaning of Ubuntu when I used to live in Southern Africa. It means “I am because we are”. This word is actually found across other African regions: in Rwanda “Umubuntu” which means the humans. In East Africa, in Swahili they say “Utu” meaning mankind, in the Congo Region Abatu means the human race or people (men and women). The very essence of Ubuntu refers to humanity. “I am because we are” is the core of the Ubuntu philosophy. This concept originating from African ancestral knowledge celebrates our human interconnectedness and reminds us of our shared destinies. Ubuntu is a calling within each of us to finally accept our Interdependence, to live with a collective state of mind, and to act from a place of care and oneness towards our human family. We are One!

In other words, Ubuntu Tribe means the Human Tribe! To face our current complex challenges, Ubuntu invites us to act holistically upon our mind, body, and souls. We are called to rethink our approach. Ubuntu offers us a deeper emotional and philosophical perspective in order to deal with the current crisis and build our common future. As a result, we believe in a bottom-up approach empowering individuals, local and global communities of citizens through greater solidarity and collaboration. Along my journey, I was lucky and privileged to receive Ubuntu teachings from great Africans such as Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and many others.

In our current world, resources (material or financial) are not evenly distributed. In contrast, we believe that talent and creativity are universal attributes shared across humankind. It is essential to create a leveled playing field and provide equal access to opportunities where it’s due regardless of gender, race, place of birth, or wealth at birth. Ubuntu not only refers to our interconnectedness as humans but also our connection to the planet we live in. We should say, “I am because we are ONE” part of a broader unity with the earth we live in and all its inhabited species. Or maybe we should say, “I am because ALL is one.” This is why Ubuntu Tribe will be deploying technologies that will allow clean ethical gold extraction increasing the yield for artisanal farmers to 50% more gold without the use of mercury or cyanide to protect the environment. Mercury has damaged the environment and the health of millions of people in mining regions around the world, and this has to stop.

But why is Ubuntu ancestral wisdom as an African heritage important to technology? In reality, it has become obvious that the world we are living in is and will further be ruled or at least dominated by technology. For instance, when we talk about artificial intelligence, transhumanism, biotechnologies, or other emerging technologies, a key fundamental question keeps resounding. It is the question of Ethics and Values. In an era where our lives can be programmed by apps and other computer programs, in a world where new forms of life are emerging, it is crucial to infuse technology with ethical principles and values that align with our shared humanity. This is where Ubuntu’s ancestral wisdom plays a significant role in guiding the ethical development and deployment of technology for the benefit of all.

or micro-organisms can be invented in laboratories, we are called to ponder and reflect deeply about what we stand for? What do we have to gain? Is the gain worth it? What is the trade-off? Will it lead to more conflicts, greater peace or self-destruction? Are such gains in line with our value system as humans? How does it impact the planet-hosting us all? What does progress mean? Does progress have value if it is only enjoyed by the happy-few? What makes us profoundly human? What society civilization do we want for our children? Is such progress in alignment with the very essence that makes us human?

In an era where the world is in an identity crisis, in an era where ego-based leadership has shown its limits, wisdom, compassion and values-based leadership have become of high importance to maintain the cohesion of our societies in this global village. What I personally love about blockchain technology is the value system from which it derives, the philosophical and spiritual principle that guided the cryptographers and software engineers that designed the algorithm. Why? Because it lies on the very quest to design a program answering the following question. Knowing that the current system is based on a centralized system, and considering that handing all the power and trust to a central party can lead to errors or mismanagement, how do we create a system where information or a transaction can be validated and recorded concomitantly by various stakeholders in a tampered way as the power of the collective is stronger than the power of the individual.

This is for me the essence of some ancestral values and principles relating to the Ubuntu philosophy. No wonder the creators of Linux called their operating system Ubuntu. Interestingly enough when I tried to explain the principle of blockchain to the elders back home, they smiled at me and told me: “Son we have had that principle since the ends of time over here and across many regions in Africa, for instance when the child is born or when we want to validate the area of someone’s land we have always called at least 4 respected people in the community to approve and validate the existence, the filiation of the baby, the ownership or accuracy of the attributed land, so that when one of the 4 should be absent or departed we could still rely on the trusted word of the 3 others. But with colonization, everything became centralized into the hands of one person that we are expected to trust”.

Those words resonated deeply with me as I realized that I had so much to learn from our ancient culture and wisdom that get so often discarded in the name of progress and throw the baby with the bathwater by discarding some inherent ancestral wisdom. In other words, if the world is heading towards being ruled by technologies anchoring humanist values become of ultimate importance so that whatever is reflected in the source codes and software programming be inspired and reflective of such fundamental human values

Along my travels, I had the opportunity to discuss Ubuntu principles and integrate them as a way of life (although I am still a work in progress). I realized then that it was not an African concept but definitely a Universal concept common to mankind. For instance, I had the opportunity to meet incredible souls in the United Arab Emirates who fully embody the Ubuntu philosophy and share similar visions without previously being exposed to this concept. I further encountered cultures naturally practicing Ubuntu but just calling it differently. As an example, In Lak’ech Ala K’in is the Mayan moral code meaning “You are my other me. What I do onto you, I do onto myself.” As such, each positive action we take to safeguard all facets of womanhood is reflected back on society in kind.

The world has changed and the new world rising beneath our feet. A new values-based socio-economic system urgently needs to emerge. Ubuntu Tribe is inspired by this holistic perspective embracing humanity in all its aspects (mind, body and spirit), applying it to technology and tapping into our global collective intelligence to co-create a new world based on abundance and not scarcity, on transparency and not deceit, a world fueled by the power of love and not by the love of power, a world enhanced by collaboration and not competition, a world fueled by shared knowledge and not by orchestrated ignorance, a world of interconnection and not exclusion, a world of unity and not division, a world of solidarity and not of individualism, a world for our children, a world for humanity, a world filled with humanity. Together, we rise!

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