Are we giving too much leverage to foreigners in Africa?

In a bid to curb illicit financial activities and counterfeiting, the government of Kenya recently rolled out new banknotes to replace the old ones.

According to the authorities, Kenyans must return all 1,000 shillings ($10; £8) bank notes in their possession to local banks on or before 1 October 2019, in a bid to fight money laundering, counterfeits, and corruption.

Although some Kenyans expressed concerns over the design and image of the new banknote, which features Kenya’s first President, Jomo Kenyatta – the father of the current president, Uhuru Kenyatta.

Some others saw nothing wrong, claiming that whether Jomo is Uhuru’s father or not, he remains the greatest hero in the history of Kenya.

Many critics, however, challenged the decision on the design, as well as the clampdown on the 1,000 shilling notes, has been challenged in court.

News coming out of Kenya reveals that the Embassy of the United States in the country has refused to accept the new notes, saying cash payments for any consular activities must be made in the old currency notes.

This was conveyed in a tweet by the US Embassy in Nairobi which said the embassy was still working on procedures to accept the new Kenyan shillings; whatever that means.

“Until these procedures are in place, consular applicants will only be able to pay for services using the previous Kenyan shillings. You may also continue to pay by credit card,” reads the Embassy tweet.

Many critics have faulted the decision of the embassy, questioning its motives behind the rejection of the new banknotes which they claim is contrary to the orders from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

Does a foreign entity have the right to decide the type of currency to accept in a foreign land?

When the United States of America changed its new 100 Dollar notes, could the Kenyan embassy in the U.S. reject the notes or say it wants to stick to payments with the old notes?

Are we giving foreign entities too much leverage in Africa and have they began to take us for granted as a result?

According to the governor, the new notes would help check the increasing cases of counterfeits in the country.

“More recently we have seen the emergence of some counterfeits. These are grave concerns that would jeopardize proper transactions and the conduct of commerce in our currency.” Njoroge said.

Does the United States embassy in Kenya not support this claim? What do you think?