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Chelugui unveils digital system for cooperatives

Co-operatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui has launched a co-banking and digital system for cooperative societies and SACCOS developed by the Cooperative Alliance of Kenya (CAK).

The platform, known as coopTECH, is poised to be an enabler of cooperatives to collaborate. CAK Executive Director Daniel Marube said that through the facility cooperatives and SACCOs can have shared services, facilitate inter-landing and allow payment both internally and externally.

CS Chelugui said that the government has been pushing for the idea of shared technology. “One thing that this system will do is to assure the security of depositors’ funds in cooperatives societies and SACCOs so that we can assure every depositor of their safety of money whether in a Sacco or cooperative,” he said.

The CS termed SACCOs as the best vehicle to intermediate between savings and investments in addition to encouraging their members to embrace a savings culture for socio-economic development.

“Technology has become a driving force behind change in almost every industry and indeed plays an integral role in sustaining co-operatives by offering the ability to manage resources, improve efficiency and create products and solutions in line with the needs of the end users,” he noted.

The CS encouraged SACCOs to also invest in cyber security and to implement strong and proper internal controls to protect members’ investments.

The CS urged cooperative societies to put in place deliberate efforts to attract the youth and women to cooperatives that have an aging membership at 55 per cent.

“In a rapidly evolving world, it is essential that we adapt to the needs and interests of the next generation. We must create a culture of inclusivity for the youth to extend the lives of the co-operatives. Be flexible and adaptable to help them feel valued and attracted to your co-operatives,” the CS told the cooperatives leadership.

The government, CS Chelugui says, has rightfully identified co-operatives as a vehicle through which it will achieve its transformational objectives. Co-operatives promote social inclusion and environmental sustainability, hence, helping in creating a more prosperous and equitable society for all, he noted.

He said, “The National Government’s bottom-up economic model is best exemplified by the Co-operatives business model that taps its strength from their members. Mobilization of those at the bottom of the pyramid can be effectively done through co-operatives.”

The CS added that co-operatives play a key role in socioeconomic development in Kenya. There are over 28,000 co-operatives with a membership of over 14 million.

“The co-operatives have controlled assets worth over Sh1.5 trillion, had accumulated savings to the tune of Sh. 1 trillion and had advanced loans and advances in excess of Sh980 billion,” CS Chelugui divulged.

Despite the achievements, CS Chelugui revealed that co-operatives are facing a myriad of challenges like weak governance, un-aligned legal framework, inadequate source of affordable credit, low skills & competencies, low adoption of technology, and bad publicity amongst others.

By Sadik Hassan

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