In Mombasa, Africa’s first ‘alternative currency’ helps Kenyans fight poverty

 

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A Bangla-Pesa note held up during a meeting in Kawangware slum Mombasa, where residents hope to create their own currency. Photo by Jason Patinkin

Mombasa, Kenya – How can people in the world’s poorest slums increase their businesses – even when they don’t have enough money to buy food every day?

One solution found by residents in a slum on Kenya’s coast is simply to print their own money.

For a year now, more than 180 local businesses in what is called the “Bangladesh” slum near the coastal Kenyan city of Mombasa have used their own colorful currency alongside the Kenya shilling.

It is called “Bangla-Pesa.” It is slightly larger than a dollar, comes in 5s, 10s, and 20s, and is helping to stimulate trade in one of Kenya’s most neglected places by its use in businesses, churches, and schools. Read more…

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