While Africa accounts for 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves, there are concerns that the continent has not been able to leverage its natural resource wealth potential fully. The African Development Bank estimates Africa loses $195 billion annually from its natural capital. “It has become important for us to start extracting and effectively harnessing these resources to build our economies,” said Mamadou Toure, CEO of Ubuntu Tribe, the company building GIFT, a digital token 100% backed by gold.

GIFT, the acronym for Gold International Fungible Token, is a digital certificate of gold ownership 100% backed by physical gold and pegged to the international spot price of gold. GIFT allows anyone in Nigeria, Africa, and worldwide to buy gold audited by reputable digital asset firms and verified by blockchain technology for as low as five cents. 

The gold token is easily accessible and available to anyone with a mobile phone on Utribe Wallet, the trusted, robust investment platform on all digital stores. Meanwhile, the underlying asset, the gold, is stored in regulated, secure, and independent vaults in Switzerland, Germany, Dubai, Singapore, and Denmark. Customers can claim or redeem the physical gold in fiat currency from their Utribe wallet anytime. “We work with the leading logistics and security companies like Bris Lois and FedEx to ship the gold to your doorstep,” said Mamadou.

Since its inception, the Ubuntu tribe has been committed to removing barriers to accessing secure investments by facilitating trade, growth, and shared prosperity through seamless finance and intelligent work. However, instead of depending on volatile and depreciating currencies, Ubuntu tribe offers secure and regulated investment products pegged to gold prices. The Ubuntu model allows people to use gold as a savings instrument and an investment to trade and preserve against currency depreciation. The goal is to democratize access to gold as a means to shared prosperity.

Mamadou’s curiosity about Africa dates back to 20 years ago when many investors overlooked Africa. At the time, Mamadou was on the verge of his career as an investment banker in Paris, working on mergers and acquisitions and government advisory. However, his journey as an entrepreneur started when he began working as a managing director for GE General Electric, responsible for investment and project finance for all the group’s subsidiaries for Sub-Saharan Africa. This gave him a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges on the continent and a solid network to serve the people today based on his financial background. In 2016, he founded Ubuntu Group, a company dedicated to using technology to drive positive change in Africa and beyond. 

Since 2016, the company has created a platform for people to connect, transact, and grow businesses and wealth based on real value. They aim to allow everyone to achieve financial freedom through secure and regulated investment products. In 2019, Mamadou assembled a dedicated team and founded Ubuntu tribe, a subsidiary of the group whose primary goal is to help Africa leverage its natural resources to create shared prosperity. A vision they plan to achieve by offering financial freedom through secure and regulated investment products that are pegged to the gold price.

The wealth behind the gold

Gold is a universal and timeless asset that has gained value over the years. In 1900, a barrel of oil cost 1.8 grams of gold. One century later, the same gram of gold can get almost three times more fat. In contrast, the same dollar can get 40 times less oil. Since 1971, gold has gained 5000% and 500% to the dollar in the last 20 years. Last year, gold gained 15% to the dollar. Concurrently, Africa is home to 40 percent of the world’s gold, with underground resources exceeding $100 trillion, more significant than the global GDP at $87 trillion. “The finance industry is effectively looked at gold as a haven,” said Sonnie Babatunde, CEO of DLM Capital Group, the security trading partner for the Ubuntu tribe.

DLM Capital is a full-service investment house at the forefront of creating alternative financing solutions across Africa. They are one of the largest broker-dealers in the country, with the necessary license and expertise to operate jointly with the Ubuntu tribe. As a partner, the company provides securities trading, ensuring that users can quickly and confidently buy and sell your tokens. 

However, Nigerians (and Africans) have expressed skepticism about adopting disruptive technologies, especially regarding the blockchain. Tokenizing, conversely, entails creating a digital representation of an asset on a blockchain, a decentralized and distributed ledger that logs transactions. These assets include physical assets like real estate or art, financial assets like equities or bonds, nontangible assets like intellectual property, or even identity and data. It creates new ways of exchanging value and ownership securely and transparently and allows for crowding investments in that space. “It has the opportunity to accelerate the access to financing access to new forms of asset classes that did not exist before,” said Oscar Onyema, Group CEO, Nigerian Exchange Group. The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission is also one of the world’s forward thinkers and regulators; they have regulations around digitization. “All of those things are designed for investor protection. Once you’ve gone through all the regulatory processes, it is safe to be accessible in Nigeria,” he added. The Singapore Global Metal Exchange accredits GIFT and has applied with the SEC to register as a digital exchange.

Ubuntu tribe is unlocking wealth for Africans. 

Ubuntu is a beautiful African phrase that means I am because we are. This is the bedrock of the Ubuntu tribe, as they believe each product includes everyone on the planet. The GIFT gives users the gift of fractionalization. The token reduces assets into tiny bite-sized chunks to make them accessible and affordable with just a few cents. “This way, it gives a chance not only to access the global economy, to be financially included, but also to create and preserve wealth,” said Mamadou.

Beyond the users, GIFT offers profit redistribution to mining communities. The business model revolves around a circular economy, enabling miners to generate dual income. They refine, store, sell, and benefit wholly from the local economy. 10% of all our transaction fees go back to funds in those mining regions and mining communities, social infrastructure, health and education, and regenerative agriculture for women. “We are the only ones on the planet doing this. With this, the miner can extract the gold, take a portion, and buy it from their phone,” commented Mamoudou. “That’s why it makes a big difference.”

The Ubuntu tribe is also committed to environmental and social responsibility. One of the significant challenges of gold extraction is mercury pollution, which harms both human health and the ecosystem. The company has taught a technology that allows them to extract gold with zero mercury and increase the yield by 50%. “The idea is that these miners have better health, a better environment, where they can benefit more from gold,” said Mamadou. Blockchain technology enables users to track the source of the gold at any stage of the supply chain, ensuring transparency and accountability. Ubuntu tribe aims to partner with the Ministry of Mines and the Mining Association to scale its impact.

Africa’s abundant mineral wealth is vital to the global economy and holds the potential to bring about a transformative impact on the continent’s economic landscape. Beyond gold, up to 90 percent of the worldwide chromium and platinum are in Africa. “Every one of us needs to contribute to telling the story that makes our products and African blue flow. That is the only way that Africa can play on the table,” said Adebola Williams, CEO of Red Media, Ubuntu’s media partner. Mamadou agrees. “For us, it is about restoring African pride and wealth by monetizing immediately the resources we’re sitting on so that we can allow people to realize their potential fully,” he said. The launch of the GIFT product was attended by several stakeholders, from tech enthusiasts to investment professionals. One of the attendees, David Nwaekwu, a software engineer and student at the University of Lagos, was excited about the launch. When asked if he would buy a GIFT, “I was ready to buy it yesterday,” he said.