Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bangla Pesa, Complementary Currency Faces Threat from State

Police have today raided a Mombasa based non-profit organization office after it was informed of circulation of non-legal tender.

Several people in Changamwe were arrested for having contravened the Central Bank Act, which states that the Central Bank has the exclusive mandate of issuing legal tender.

However, the residents of Bangladesh, an informal settlement in Changamwe have opposed the move claiming Bangla Pesa is changing lives with access to common currency being limited.

About Bangla Pesa

Bangla Pesa is a complementary currency which was introduced to stabilize the economy of the informal settlement of Bangladesh in Changamwe. Koru Kenya, the non-profit organization behind the initiative has 200 small scale businesses enrolled into the Bangla Business Network (BBN).

According to, Bangla Pesa is a unit of credit within this mutual-credit-clearing (or multilateral reciprocal exchange) system which provides a means of payment that is complementary to official money.

As such, it helps to stabilize the community in the face of monetary volatility by allowing Network members to trade with each other without using the national currency. The local availability of credit also provides the community with a stimulus to local business incubation and social service projects. Koru has worked with the BBN on planning and baseline data-gathering since November 2012.

The BBN launched the Bangla-Pesa currency in May 2013. Credits are issued in the form of paper-vouchers that can pass from hand to hand as payment for goods and services. Toward the end of 2013, we hope to add the capability of using mobile phone technology as a means of transferring Bangla credits.

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