Kenya’s vibrant co-operative culture, embedded in the Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies (Saccos) has attracted the attention of other African countries as evident in a visit by sixteen credit unions from Ghana visiting Kericho County.
The visit is a benchmarking exercise aimed at exchanging ideas on how to improve Saccos in Ghana.
The unions’ delegation was led by Dr. Bernard B. B. Bingab the President and the Board Chair of Ghana Cooperative Credit Union Association.
Dr. Bingab said the success of Kenyan Saccos would inform change in their policies so as to scale up the success ladder like Kenya.
Speaking at the ceremony hosted by Kericho’s Imarisha Sacco Society Limited, Dr. Bingab said that they had learnt that good leadership was vital for successful running of a credit union which he observed was the case with Kenyan Saccos.
“For instance, Imarisha Sacco has proven to us that the right leadership is vital in running a Sacco. They are making the right decisions and have the welfare of their members at heart. That is why the membership is growing exponentially,” said Dr. Bingab.
He said Sacco Membership in Ghana was at 1 million which was too low compared to Kenya where millions are registered members of various Saccos. “We have realized that there is so much to learn from these benchmarking programs. We will be conducting such meetings at-least every year so that we can exchange ideas and implement them in our various credit unions” he added.
On his part the Chairman of Imarisha Sacco Society Mr Matthew Ruto pointed out that the Sacco movement in Kenya was growing fast and getting stronger by the day adding that it was vital to share ideas with other countries in order to get even better.
“We have learnt that Saccos are the same. How they operate in their country is the same as we do in this country, offering credit to their members and also the policies are not very different from ours, so we are on the right track.” said Mr Ruto.
Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies (Saccos) trace their roots from table banking which are founded by people with shared values. Unlike other financial institutions, Saccos are member-owned meaning every member has a stake and decides at Annual General Meetings or through other mechanisms agreed.
Members gain from Saccos, by saving consistently and growing savings so as to get healthy dividends which also enable members to secure higher loans that are interest friendly up to three or four times the savings.
Saccos also have emergency loans for school fees, medical needs or other unexpected costs and these loans can be processed within minutes which help members to avoid shylocks.
By Kibe Mburu and Mercyline Chepkemoi