East African SACCOs, Supported By WOCCU, Are Making Progress
(r-l)Okello N'Jaramba, Chairman of KUSCCO Kenya; Jackson Rwakishaija, chairman of UCSCU, Uganda; Arthur Arnold, President and CEO, WOCCU; Honerable Moody Awori, Vice President of Kenya; Honorable Peter Ndwiga, Kenya's Minister of Cooperative Development and Marketing.
Nairobi, Kenya—250 Savings and Credit Co-
operative (SACCO) leaders from six different
countries in Africa met earlier this week for
3rd East African Regional SACCOs Association
(EARAS) conference in Kenya, where World Council
of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) president and CEO
Arthur Arnold spoke on credit union legislation
and economic growth.
The Honorable Moody Awori, Vice President of
Kenya, and the Honorable Peter Ndwiga, Kenya's
Minister of Cooperative Development and
Marketing, officially opened the conference,
which was co-chaired by Jackson Rwakishaija,
chairman of UCSCU Uganda and Okello N'Jaramba,
newly elected chairman of KUSCCO Kenya. Edward
Mudibo, managing director of KUSCCO and
of EARAS, managed operations for the event.
Both Awori and Ndwiga called upon the audience
from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles,
Ethiopia and Malawi, to put pressure on their
respective governments for proper legislation
regulation for SACCOs. They referred to the
recent progress made in Kenya, where Parliament
will soon pass new legislation drafted with the
help of WOCCU and KUSCCO, a World Council
Included in the legislation is a SACCO
Act being considered for quick approval that
would significantly improve the supervision of
Kenyan SACCOs, with the aim of maintaining the
standards outlined in WOCCU's PEARLS monitoring
system. These new laws would benefit not just
SACCO members, but the Kenya public at large.
The proposed legislation came about partially as
a result of several WOCCU-facilitated fact-
finding visits by delegations of Kenyan SACCO
leaders and government authorities to the
National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and
Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA), in
the context of the International Partnership
between Kenya, PCUA and WOCCU.
In his keynote remarks, "Making or Breaking the
World," Arthur Arnold, WOCCU's president & CEO,
congratulated the SACCO movements in the Eastern
African Region for their cooperation. "Eastern
Africa is taking the lead on the continent.
Africa has to go for growth, in particular in
rural areas where 80% of the population is
located and mostly lives from agriculture.
Without access to affordable financial services,
that growth will never materialize," Arnold
"That's where SACCOs come in...micro finance,
funded by micro savings—creating sustainable,
self funded micro-enterprises, including micro-
agribusiness. Let's not forget that's how
unions in the rest of the world started more
150 years ago, in the rural areas. Small
is the driving force for growth and the backbone
for creating new employment," Arnold continued.
Arnold stressed the need for increased growth in
Africa throughout his speech. "Growth in Africa
is on the rise, more than 4 % in 2004. This is
great, however, it's not good enough. [In the
next decade] China and India will grow by about
10%, as they did in the last 10 years," Arnold
stated, offering a challenge to his
audience: "Africa can do better, starting here
Eastern Africa. SACCOs will play a very
role to make that happen."
Arnold emphasized the need for "Good Governance"
to fight corruption, the number one enemy of
growth in Africa. During a separate workshop, he
shared with the African audience WOCCU's work-in-
progress guidelines for Corporate, Collective
Individual Governance Best Practices, a project
that will be finalized by the end of the year.
Arnold also explained the value of sharing
investments in ITC, which otherwise would be
beyond the means of SACCOs in Africa.
"WOCCU, with its partners, Canadian
Association and Irish Credit Union Foundation,
will organize for the SACCO leaders in Africa,
the 5th Africa SACCA Congress in Swaziland,
October 11-15, 2004, where we shall share best
practices regarding good governance, pricing of
products and services, sharing ITC: a must,
advocating and promoting SACCOs with legislators
and regulators and how to deal with the impact
HIV-AIDS, case studies of success stories in
SACCO development and other topics," Arnold
concluded at the closing of the conference.
The national media, television, radio and
newspapers covered the three-day conference
extensively, with interviews of Kenya's Vice
President Awori, Minister Ndwiga and WOCCU's
Arnold. For more information on the 2004 SACCA
Congress, please visit the World Council website
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 51,000 credit unions in 100 countries serve 196 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.