Automation and SACCOs in Africa

How automation can play a critical role for SACCOs

SACCOs are considered a reliable tool to accomplish social and financial needs in many parts of Africa. 

They are established by a group of people to fulfil their social, financial, or cultural needs and, in doing so, strengthen the communities in which they operate. They play a crucial role in promoting financial inclusion for small and medium enterprises, farmers and workers. They are highly popular in areas where banking services are absent.

According to a report submitted by Accenture to the Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Kenya, SACCOs are one of the leading sources of finance, and in many rural areas, local SACCOs are the only provider of financial services.  

Considered by many as a potential competitor to banks, SACCOs, however, have not evolved to keep up with the growing demands of society. They still rely on traditional processes that are becoming slow and ineffective with the changing times. Due to that, they face many challenges related to security, calculations and record keeping.

Automation with the help of digital technologies could be a solution for SACCOs. Imagine a situation where a member deposits her contribution, and it automatically adds to her total and appears on her mobile. As another example, the admin could approve a loan request, and the amount is deposited to the member’s account. The interest rate is calculated automatically, and the instalment is deducted from the account when due. The future seems bright, doesn’t it?  

Automation for SACCOs means:

SACCOs, with the help of technology, can automate several operations to be more efficient. As well as improving operations, it can help solve various problems they face today and prepare them for upcoming challenges. Let us dive deeper into what automation actually means for SACCOs today. 

Efficiency

Members of SACCOs might waste a lot of time in maintaining records. Every time a contribution is made or a loan is approved, they need to record the entries manually. This consumes a lot of time and effort. It can significantly increase in case any error or fault is detected. 

Bringing automation in recording entries such as deposits and loans can improve the efficiency of SACCOs. They can save a lot of time which is wasted in manual entries and rectifications. This will not only save them valuable hours but also enable them to channel efforts toward community development.

Growth and profitability 

Automation of operations can lead to capacity building and significantly increase the profits of SACCOs. As various admin-related tasks will be done automatically, admins can use their time to think of new ideas and strategies to grow. Better growth prospects will also lead to more members and higher profits. They will also be able to generate new business by partnering with banks and microfinance institutions for better services and steady income.  

Innovation 

Innovation is the way forward for any business seeking to live a longer life. It can also help SACCOs to explore newer technologies and digital systems. One such unique system that we have built is the Credit Association Management System (CAMS). With CAMS, we aim to digitize savings, loans, and other admin-related tasks for thousands of SACCOs. Users of CAMS can not only send their payments online but manage their records through mobile. Here you can read more about CAMS.  

Innovation has become more critical than ever as the world suffers from the second wave of COVID-19. It is more difficult for members of SACCOs to get out of their houses and attend monthly meetings. With digital systems in place, members can automate contributions and other payments and fight against the pandemic.  

Moving forward

The process of automating decade-old traditional processes is not easy. The biggest challenge standing in the way is training and education. Millions of members have to be made familiar with the new style of operations. Without proper training, automation will become a burden rather than a benefit. 

In order to meet the challenges of the present and future, SACCOs need to be more innovative. This will require them to steer their focus on adaptability, security, and agility in this age of digital transformation. It will be interesting to see who takes the first step.

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