Cash Society

by Dual Income No Kids on January 13, 2007 · 0 comments

As many of you may know, I’ve been assigned to deal with a development project in the Democratic republic of Congo as part of my job. Its been a great experiences in terms of learning how African business and financial systems work. All in all, dealing with money in Congo is quite an experience.

First of all, they use both dollars and very old Congolese money. They go back and forth between using one and the other. You can pay in dollars, sometimes you can pay in Congolese but mostly for smaller items, and most often you pay in both currencies. If you pay in dollars you get Congolese Francs back, or maybe a mix of both currencies. They love crisp new dollars and won’t accept older money. This doesn’t mean that all the money is pristine, but they are eager to get their hands on my nice crisp bills that James so lovingly got for me.

Additionally, everything works in cash. That means I brought $3,500k in cash, planning to put my hotel bill on my credit card. You don’t want to run out of money in the DRC, and there isn’t an ATM in the country!

To make matters even more interesting, my colleague and I got out $15,485 out of the bank account for our project to pay bills that are owed. Between the two of us we are walking around one of the most dangerous cities in the world with $25k in cash.

Next we’ll be headed out on Friday to Vanga, a small missionary village where Ebola was first found, with $25k in cash. Needless to say, it’s a bit unnerving. Wish us luck!


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