African CU Congress Draws Record-Breaking Attendance
(l-r) H.E. the vice president of the Republic of Kenya, Hon. Moody Awori meets with Edward Mudibo and Pete Crear.
Madison, WI—Almost 500 credit union
professionals from 15 countries discussed how to
reduce poverty through sound governance at the
seventh annual Africa Savings and Credit Co-
operative Association (SACCA) Congress, October
3-6, at the Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi,
World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. hosted
event in collaboration with the Canadian Co-
operative Association (CCA), Irish League of
Credit Unions (ILCU) and Kenya Union Savings and
Credit Cooperatives (KUSCCO). The Chatfield Fund
and African American Credit Union Coalition
(AACUC) also sponsored the congress.
The SACCA Congress is an annual forum for
representatives from credit unions, known as
savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), to
exchange ideas and perspectives on current SACCO
issues across Africa.
(l-r) Erick Sile, World Council program manager for Africa, AACUC's Tarra Jackson and Audia Williams, and Jesús Chavez, World Council technical development and regulatory systems manager, listen in at the seventh annual African Congress.
"The SACCA Congress is precisely the kind of
international training opportunity for which the
Chatfield Fund was created," said Matt Davidson,
executive vice president of the California and
Nevada Credit Union Leagues, who congratulated
Africa's SACCOs and the co-hosts and co-sponsors
on the successful congress. "One of the unique
hallmarks of the worldwide credit union system
is the open knowledge exchange among credit
unions and across national borders," he said.
H.E. the vice president of the Republic of
Kenya, Hon. Moody Awori set the tone for the
event in his opening address. He emphasized the
importance of transparent leadership in
providing effective service.
"It does not matter how much an institution
in terms of resources and technological
expertise," Awori said. "Without grounding
itself in basic principles of good governance,
all its efforts would be in vain…Ethics
governance are neither a luxury nor an option;
they are essential for our own survival as
individuals, organizations, governments and the
entire human race."
Also attending the opening ceremony were Hon.
Peter Njeru Ndwiga, minister for cooperative
development, Patrick Khaemba, permanent
secretary, and Frederick Odhiambo, commissioner
for cooperatives development.
Four full days of presentations were
to governance, savings, loans, financial
disciplines and IT issues, and sessions were
conducted with simultaneous translations in
French and English.
CCA's Jo-Anne Fergusson, senior director of
international development, gave a compelling
presentation on the importance of balancing
gender in SACCO management.
ILCU board members Anne O'Byrne and Tommy
brought Ireland's story to Africa in their
presentation on credit unions in community.
Edward Mudibo, managing director of KUSCCO,
talked with attendees on the first day of the
congress about the need for specialized legal,
regulatory and supervisory framework in the Co-
operative Societies Act.
Emmanuel Darko, general manager of Credit
Associations of Ghana, encouraged participants
to look beyond the number of members and loans
at their SACCOs and measure instead the impact
of products, services and programs they provide.
Darko challenged attendees to focus on their
social obligation to the poor and help reduce
poverty by providing financial education in
addition to their regular services.
Presenters also included World Council staff
members and US credit union volunteers: Audia
Williams, manager of Union Settlement Federal
Credit Union in New York, Tarra Jackson, vice
president of lending at Delaware Federal Credit
Union, and Anne Cochran, president and CEO of
the Louisiana Credit Union League.
Mudibo praised the technical, financial and
material contributions of World Council, ILCU,
CCA and the AACUC. "This has been the most
enriching African SACCO Conference with the most
comprehensive technical content and largest
attendance," he said. "The support is highly
appreciated and shall contribute immensely in
the development of the SACCO movement in
World Council CEO Pete Crear returned
praise. "KUSCOO and its staff were great and
truly helped make this the best Congress
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, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.