November regional news: Africa

24 Nov 2014

11th Regional Assembly of the International Co-operative Alliance for Africa

Co-operators from the Africa region met in Nairobi, Kenya on 17-19 November for the 11th Regional Assembly of the International Co-operative Alliance for Africa.

Speaking at the event, Dr Chiyoge Sifa, the Alliance’s regional director for Africa, said that one of the main objectives of the conference was to examine the progress made since the last Regional Assembly, which was held in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2012. Another important objective was to share new knowledge among members in a pre-conference that preceded the Regional Assembly, she said.

During the second day the Regional Director read out her report, which as well as highlighting the challenges encountered along the way, also showed some good progress since the previous Regional Assembly. The report focused on the milestone achieved regarding the implementation of the African Development Strategy, which was launched in 2013 in Cape Town South Africa. She also reported that the Africa Endowment Trust Fund has grown significantly from USD $235,526.74 in 2012 to USD $457,251.37 as at end October 2014.

Empowering SACCOs and co-operatives through the Co-operative University College of Kenya

While SACCOs in Kenya have made significant strides in empowering members by mobilising savings and credit, they are still to realise their full potentials.

In 2013 a survey commissioned by the SACCO Societies Regulatory Authority of Kenya highlighted seven core capacity gaps among the 215 deposit-taking SACCOs: governance; weak lending and high default and delinquency in individual loan products; weak risk management; weak marketing; inadequate information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure; and staff without requisite co-operative experience.

To address the gaps in core capacity, The Co-operative University College of Kenya (CUCK) in collaboration with other organisations, developed courses in Individual Lending and Delinquency Management, Risk Management and Corporate Governance Development for Sacco directors and staff.

So far, 39 SACCOs directors have gone through the programme and 34 SACCO staff have been trained in Individual Lending Delinquency and Risk Managements.

In November The Co-operative University College of Kenya (CUCK) has launched the website Co-operative Information Resource Center. The online portal will give co-operative and agribusiness information on Money, Management, Membership, Marketing and profiles through reports, videos, case studies/research findings, market research, courses/training and geographic information system (GIS) Mapping. At the same time, it will give access to short-term e-learning.

Moshi Co-operative University, Tanzania’s newest public university

The former Moshi University College of Co-operative and Business Studies (MUCCoBS) is now a fully-fledged University: The Moshi Co-operative University (MoCU). This means that the university will now be able to award its own degrees and certificates.

MoCU offers three categories of training and education: academic programmes; professional programmes; and outreach programmes. Academic programmes offered range from certificates, diplomas, undergraduate programmes, to postgraduate programmes; while outreach programmes are conducted through short-term training, seminars, workshops, distance learning that are all client-focused. Professional programmes are currently in financial services that are run in Tanzania and Uganda. In addition to training, the University also undertakes reaserch and advisory services in various fields relating to co-operative and business management, economics, microfinance and community development.

Co-operative workshop in Nigeria

The Co-operative Federation of Nigeria (CFN) organised a national workshop to examine the role of co-operatives in job creation. Delegates looked at issues such as financial inclusion, ICT and data management in the promotion of co-operative trade, financing co-operative trade, the role of youth in co-operatives and the relationship with government bodies.

The conference also noted that the Federal Government had established a N220bn development fund for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), which include some co-ops.

They also called on the Cooperative Federation of Nigeria (CFN), state federations and sectoral apex organisations to address their structural challenges and review their business models to enable them meet current and future challenges. Participants urged CFN to mobilise funds being held by some co-operative societies for investment purposes to further develop the co-operative enterprise in the country. Another recommendation they made was to ensure the diligent implementation of the Co-operative Development Policy for Nigeria, especially by creating of Ministries of Co-operatives at national and state levels.

Photo: Alliance president, Dame Pauline Green along with president of the Alliance's regional office for Africa, Stanley Muchiri and Alliance director general, Charles Gould at the Regional Assembly in Kenya.