Complementary Currencies for Sustainable Development in Kenya: The Case of the Bangla-Pesa
Submitted to: University of Rotterdam – ISS
This paper is a report on the development of a complementary currency system that allows Kenyans in informal
settlements to trade goods and services and meets sustainable development objectives. The system in this
report, Bangla-Pesa, uses a mutual-credit model through a network of local business, including many whose
owners fall under the extreme poverty line. The paper documents the reasons for its creation, how it was
launched, the immediate positive benefits upon launch, and some of the difficulties faced. Bangla-Pesa is shown to facilitate exchanges of roughly 50 Euros in value per day among 109 businesses, which should raise living standards in the community primarily through the utilization of excess business capacity. After only a week of circulation – Bangla-Pesa helped community members increase sales an estimated 22% through capacity trading. This system’s implementation and governance model are detailed with the aim of improving upon and replicating the model for future sustainable development programs.
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