What do we make of the new digital enclave, Afropolitan? Only time will tell. Either way, their manifesto certainly deserves our attention.

“We are building a network comprising the best that Africa and the diaspora offer across art, finance, tech, health, sports, and media. The Afropolitan Network is a Curator of Black and African:

  • Talent (recruit, partner up)
  • Culture (art, media, fashion)
  • Capital (investment DAOs)
  • Information (newsletter, blog, Twitter)
  • Experiences (events, curated offerings)

Nevertheless, we believe our reach should exceed our grasp. While it may be a humble Network today, Afropolitan will be the first-ever internet country in the future. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, you may be asking: why build a Digital Nation?

Why we’re building a Digital Nation

Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.

— Frantz Fanon

Scarcity. Weakness. Poverty. Wherever we look and wherever we are, Africans worldwide are subjects, not citizens. Access to opportunity is scarce. Security is not guaranteed. For the most part, life is just about surviving, not thriving.

What would you do if you could do anything? If your future was boundless, not bounded? What if your allegiance to a country did not depend on birth but on choice? In short: What would happen if you could come together with others to build a new society?

We know what you’re thinking: “This is unrealistic .” Everything around you, from the machine on which you’re reading this manifesto to the country you live in, was once an idea in somebody’s head. They only came to be thanks to the work of millions of people, no more intelligent or better than you.

In this spirit, and with humility and hope for the future, we Afropolitans declare:

  1. The nation-state experiment has failed for Black people worldwide. It has yielded nothing but poverty, genocide, police brutality, ethnic strife, inflation, weak government, and the failure of our ecosystems.
  2. All people who call themselves free have a fundamental right to create the society they want by choice collectively. As the internet enables us to shrink space and form bonds across the planet, no person should live in a society by accident or force.
  3. Finally, that Abundance and the destruction of scarcity is a North Star worth pursuing in any society which hopes to be both healthy and wealthy. Instead of the Land of Opportunity, we propose the Network of Abundance: Abundance of Tools, Abundance of Opportunity, Abundance of Joy.

To all future Afropolitans, our deal is simply this: join the Network of Abundance to be all you can be. Afropolitan is the canvas; you wield the brush.

Strategy: How do you build a Digital Nation?

Human beings are social animals. All that is good and noble about us stems from the fact that we need each other. In the most basic sense, building a new country is a process of scaling a social network around a shared mission and principles. Social networks are formed online and tend to stay there in our time. But what if we built a new network and migrated it into the real world via a city (or Network of cities)?

Crypto-philosopher Balaji Srinivasan highlighted this as the most viable strategy to build such a country — which he calls a Network State — in the 21st Century. The Network State is a digital nation launched first as an online community before materializing physically on land after reaching critical mass.

The internet enables people to organize around shared values at scales that were previously unthinkable before the current century. If it were a country, Facebook would be the largest one globally. With the advent of cryptocurrency, the next Facebook will not be a social network with a passive online community but rather a full-blown digital republic coordinated by its native currency and a unifying mission.

What, then, could Afropolitan be? If it were a country, the African diaspora would be the 10th largest globally (~ 150 Million). The diaspora is our North Star.”

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