For decades, savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) have been providing small loans and savings facilities to their members. They have extended their services to millions of households in Africa in areas where banking services were unavailable.
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. Another report by FSD Tanzania states that “More than 10.6 million people in Tanzania access financial services informally.”
For a long time, SACCOs have relied on manual systems and paperwork to manage loans, do arithmetics, record transactions and more. They are now adopting technology and digital solutions to power their services and boost financial inclusion.
Paper to digital
SACCOs in Africa are digitizing operations to bring financial inclusion to every corner. Digital systems and rising mobile money are helping them extend services to the poor and with no proper IDs.
Digital solutions are also helping them offer better, faster and more secure services. Members are now able to access financial services without needing to travel for meetings while carrying cash. While mobile money services like M-Pesa are facilitating online transactions, tech startups are building upon it to offer digital services to SACCOs.
Mobile apps are becoming a new way to send contributions and apply for loans. As the smartphone market continues to grow, more such apps will be pushed to provide a myriad of services. Here are some key points from the latest GSMA report on the mobile money industry.
- Safaricom launched a super app in 2019 to mobilize the fast-growing smartphone market a seamless mobile money experience.
- MTN is designing a digital input credit product in partnership with NCBA to help farmers in Rwanda.
- Demand for mobile money-driven credit is highest in Kenya among the surveyed countries.
In the near future, we will be able to see SACCO members getting insurance, loans, investment and other services through mobile apps.
Being a tech company, we believe that technology will play a crucial role in the growth of Africa’s SACCOs. Our CAMS app is a fine example of how a SACCO can use mobile money and technology to smoothen their operations.
With CAMS, we aim to contribute towards ‘No Poverty’ by helping SACCOs provide financial services to the poor, youth, and women. Using our system, these groups can cater to far-flung areas where availing of loans is a challenge. It can also enable them to offer more affordable loans to their members. We will be able to bridge the gap between finance and excluded communities.
CAMS app can help SACCOs to use digital services to streamline operations, stay compliant with regulations, and make day-to-day operations easier. Consequently, it can lead to a positive impact on Africa’s economy. This way, we can also contribute toward another UN goal ‘Decent work and economic growth.’
We have launched our app in Tanzania and onboarded WASCO SACCOS and its admins. We are also conducting training sessions with SACCOs across the country. More SACCOs are lined up to onboard our system to digitize their operations.
We will continue to bring SACCOs to the more inclusive digital world as we move ahead.