Do you think it’s possible to transform communities that are stagnating from a lack of currency into places where people’s income-generating activities create a vibrant, self-sustaining circular economy? It is in parts of Kenya that are using the community currency Sarafu, according to today’s guest.
Shaila Agha is Director of Grassroots Economics, which developed Sarafu. She tells us how coupling the currency—which is traded via wallets on mobile phones—with a development initiative, like more sustainable farming techniques, can transform communities. They go from places where a shortage of Kenya shillings can squelch economic activity to being communities where each person is given an equal chance to participate and is rewarded for being an active member.
This is such an intriguing initiative and seems so full of promise. That probably explains why the number of users has jumped 500% since January 2020, and why Sarafu could soon be expanding from Kenya into Cameroon. A bonus is that the currency works on blockchain technology, making it fully transparent, a feature that attracted a recent investment from UNICEF’s Innovation Centre.
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