Book Talk: Reimagining Money: Kenya in the Digital Finance Revolution by Sibel Kusimba
Bill Maurer, UC Irvine, IMTFI Director
Sibel Kusimba, University of South Florida
Olufunmilayo B. Arewa, Temple University Beasley School of Law
Nina Bandelj, UC Irvine
Join us for a discussion with Sibel Kusimba to talk about her new book, Reimagining Money: Kenya in the Digital Finance Revolution.
About Reimagining Money: Kenya in the Digital Finance Revolution:
Technology is rapidly changing the way we think about money. Digital payment has been slow to take off in the United States but is displacing cash in countries as diverse as China, Kenya, and Sweden. In Reimagining Money, Sibel Kusimba describes the rise of M-Pesa, and offers a rich portrait of how this technology changes the economic and social landscape, allowing users to create webs of relationships as they exchange, pool, borrow, lend, and share digital money in user-built networks. These networks, Kusimba argues, will shape the future of financial technologies and their impact on poverty, inclusion, and empowerment. She describes how urban and transnational migrants maintain a presence in rural areas through money gifts; how families use crowdfunding software to assemble donations for emergency medical care; and how new financial groups invest in real estate and fund weddings. The author presents fascinating accounts that challenge accepted wisdom by examining the notion of money as wealth-in-people—an idea long-cultivated in sub-Saharan Africa and now brought to bear on the digital age with homegrown financial technologies such as digital money transfer, digital microloans, and crowdfunding. The book concludes by proposing a new theory of money that can be applied to designing better financial technologies in the future.
About the author:
Sibel Kusimba has conducted over twenty years of ethnographic research and archaeological fieldwork in Kenya. She is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida and is the author of African Foragers (2003). Read her bio here.