Birnin Zana, Wakanda (April 1) – A controversial policy decision is now law, as Wakanda’s King T’Challa signed the Vibranium Privatisation Bill today, formally opening up the Kingdom’s vibranium industry to limited foreign investment and exports.
“It’s time to share this valuable resource with the world,” said T’Challa, “but it’s also time to cash in.”
The news sent vibranium prices soaring, setting the stage for major windfalls for Wakanda’s top local miners, manufacturers and tech companies who all plan to take advantage of the first ever export demand. Over 10,000 new mining and tech startups have already registered corporations since the morning, according to data compiled by Asoko Insight from Wakanda’s Registrar of Companies.
Wakandan startups have already blown past the record for seed stage pre-money valuations, demanding an average of $50 million for less than 5% equity in day-old companies. “Some guy from Sequoia Capital just offered me the full management fee of their latest fund on top of the equity,” said one Wakandan entrepreneur, who decided last week to give up bartending to try out coding. “I’ll think about it,” he added.
The world’s largest tech companies – including Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook – all sent top level delegations to Wakanda to discuss research and development projects and access rights to vibranium concession blocks.
Yet most of these tech titans seem fated for disappointment. “Wakanda’s data privacy laws are far more advanced than the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation,” said the Wakandan ICT Minister. “And with Facebook’s track record of handling data privacy? You think we would let them next to vibranium!?” the minister exclaimed.
“It’s.. It’s just not true!” proclaimed a defensive Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s billionaire CEO, after a leak from a 10-year old Wakandan hacker showed evidence that Amazon’s Alexa voice service is storing all captured offline voice data for sharing with third party marketers, including Google and Facebook. Amazon was immediately disqualified from doing business in Wakanda.
The mining giants may have more of an opportunity, but the costs for accessing vibranium deposits may start off as too prohibitive. “People thought Magafuli’s demands were tough on Acacia in Tanzania last year,” said Wakanda’s Minister of Mines, referring to the $190 billion tax bill slapped on the UK mining company by Tanzania’s president. “That was just for gold. Wait until Freeport and Glencore see the terms for even our peripheral blocks,” the Minister added.
News of the industry’s privatisation also comes on the back of the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which intends to build the first pan-African marketplace for intra-regional trade. Following widespread frustration that Nigeria, which is now understood to be Africa’s second largest economy behind Wakanda, will not be joining the 44 other nations that signed onto the agreement, King T’Challa committed to fill the gap and ensure the success of the initiative.
“I found it amusing that Nigeria considered itself the largest economy in Africa,” said T’Challa. “There’s more GDP in my backyard than in Nigeria,” the King added.
Another first for Wakanda is dealing with foreign reserves. While Wakanda’s Central Bank Governor claims that any incoming foreign currency is part of a hedging strategy in case of future volatility – a coup attempt almost toppled the sitting King in early 2018 – the IMF, World Bank and governments around the world fear Wakanda could potentially stockpile so much in foreign reserves that it would have a disproportionate influence on global forex. “We’ll set the terms for the IMF this time around,” said the Governor.