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Savings and credit cooperatives advancing financial inclusion

Story by Tichaona Kurewa

Government has commended savings and credit cooperatives for advancing financial inclusion in the country in line with the National Financial Inclusion Strategy.

Speaking in Victoria Falls this Saturday during the official opening of the African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA) 2023, fourth Southern Bloc Regional Forum, government officials said the savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) are contributing immensely to the national vision of becoming an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Mr Moses Mhike said, “Indeed, SACCOs in Zimbabwe are advancing the Financial Inclusion Agenda as indicated in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 11, (2022-2026). The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe noted that SACCOS play a significant role in providing access to finance to the group members who would otherwise not be able to access the financial services from mainstream financial institutions for several reasons including lack of collateral, lack of disposable income to save and invest and stringent bank requirements to access formal banking services.”

The African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Associations says the four day forum will see delegates deliberate on various ways to escalate the contribution of SACCOs to the continent’s economic development.

“The main objective of the ACCOSCA forum is empowering SACCOs to build financial capability and sustainability to enhance development at household and community level. The forum is also focusing on how SACCOs can adopt digitalisation which is now a must for all enterprises including financial cooperatives.

“Any institution that does not keep up with digital technology demands may be doomed. With digitalisation, cooperatives can serve more of their members in the face of future pandemics therefore all SACCOs in the region must embrace digitalisation,” noted African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Associations, Executive Director, Mr George Ombado.

According to the International Labour Organisation, the establishment and growth of co-operatives should be regarded as one of the important instruments for economic, social and cultural development as well as human advancement in developing countries.

Countries which are participating at the forum include Canada, Germany, Eswatini, Ghana, Uganda, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Malawi.

To date, Zimbabwe has registered more than 1 300 community-based Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) with a total membership of over 61000.

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