Cooperative movement makes big stride in the country

Kenya’s cooperative financial Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies have mobilized savings in excess of Shs.600 billion with an asset base of more than Shs.800 billion.

The total of Shs.1 trillion asset base was enough to finance construction of 25 superhighways at a cost of Shs.32 billion each.

The cooperatives are currently controlling over 30 percent of national savings and contributing over 40 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Ahead of the International Day of Cooperatives to be commemorated on Saturday, Cooperatives Principal Secretary (PS), Ali Noor says the success of the sector has been necessitated by government enthusiasm to enforce reforms for the last two decades.

These reforms have yielded results as attested by the now vibrant co-operative movement in Kenya that we are all proud, making the movement to be rated position one in Africa, and seventh in the world, with some of the local Sacco’s equally ranked the best in the continent, said the PS in a KNA interview on Thursday.

Noor said the government has been able to implement sound strategies focusing on encouraging youth and women, new business opportunities and encouraging mergers and acquisition, with the movement demonstrating its competence through steady saving mobilizations, strong governance structures and growing membership.

This, he said, renews the market players’ confidence in dealing with the cooperative sector and more so prompting the former to provide new business openings.

The PS gave as an example, the dairy sector movement that enjoys shares of 90 percent, through union processors, with Brookside dairies receiving more than half of its raw milk from small scale dairy cooperative societies.

He also cited Mwalimu national Sacco with an asset base of over Shs.37 billion, making it the current largest financial cooperative in Africa.

Currently, the number of cooperatives registered in the country has reached 21,515 with a membership of 15 million cooperators.

As envisioned in the Vision 2030, the cooperative movement is supposed to boost housing supply by 25 percent in the next 12 years.

Since the government initiated Vision 2030, said the PS, it has been mobilizing resources from large private sector organizations and donor community and exploring on strategies to have the Saccos listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) to enable them raise more finances to undertake their projects.

Co-operatives should also be encouraged to apply the cooperative principle on co-operation amongst themselves by pooling resources together either through ventures or mergers.

The pooled resources will provide adequate finances necessary to implement mega projects, including infrastructure development, metropolitan light rail systems, power generation distribution, roads, modern housing estates and mining, said Noor.

He added that strength achieved so far can further propel the cooperatives to venture into new business opportunities like financial market mainly banks, value addition, wholesale and retail, hospitality, energy, ICT, eco-tourism, mining, products distribution outlets and grain handling.

And in this way, Noor said the movement would join the league of other nations in the world where cooperative societies controlled series of business chains, for example Israel, Canada, USA and the Nordic countries.

To deepen the footprint of the Kenya cooperative movement in the global market and increase remittance into the country, the PS confirmed that 10 Diaspora Sacco’s have recently been established in various developed countries namely USA, Canada, Germany, France, Qatar, Nigeria, South Africa and Swaziland.

He confirmed that Kenya on the other hand has been offering technical assistance to Rwanda, South Sudan, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa with a view to enhancing capacity and develop their cooperative sectors.

The 2017 International Day of Cooperatives will be commemorated on 1st of July 2017 and would focus on inclusion, under the theme ‘Co-operatives ensure no one is left behind’, which complements the priority theme of the 2017 High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development: ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.’

Source: Kenya News Agency