The Role of Saccos in Stimulating the Economy
Veronicah Mungai  |  Apr 22, 2020  | 
Cytonn Investments
Veronicah Mungai  |  Apr 22, 2020  |  Cytonn Investments

Ms. Timau walked into her Sacco’s offices on a mission. She was going to apply for an education loan to see her daughter off to campus well, at least through her first year. Just like all other farmers in her region, the maize had not done so well the last planting season and she barely had enough to hold in her store to see her through to the next harvest season let alone to sell. Her cattle on the other hand, had done fairly well the previous year, but the savings she had accumulated were not enough to meet all the financial obligations needed to see her daughter off to school. Four hours later, and her mission was a success. She had managed to get the funds she needed.

April 18th, Letana married the love of his life in a small church wedding attended by relatives and close family friends. He was eager to start this new chapter in his life so much such that he had been saving in his Sacco and finally gotten a loan to start building a house to settle in with his wife. He had opted to secure the loan from his Sacco as he felt he was getting much more than what the banks were willing to give and at a lower interest rate too.

Just like in Ms. Timau and Letana’s cases, Saccos are acting as a financial cushion for many Kenyans out there. For some, Saccos act as a safe haven for rainy day funds while for others, they are that financial boost needed to start a business, pay school fees or even build a home. Savings and credit co-operatives are among the leading sources of credit for socio-economic development in Kenya. President Uhuru Kenyatta has previously recognized the influential role co-operative movements have played in the country’s progress, citing that the directly or indirectly account for 45% of Kenyans’ GDP and 30% of national savings and deposits.

Co-operatives were identified as one of the best models in enhancing agricultural and non-agricultural productivity through trade in large volumes of inputs engagement in the distribution of farm inputs. The government of Kenya, under Vision 2030, envisaged that co-operatives would provide 25% of housing stock in urban areas according to a 2019 report released by Co-operative Alliance of Kenya Limited.

Initially, Saccos were created to provide credit facilities to members. However, over the years they have evolved, and their product offerings have diversified. Today, Saccos not only provide loans to their members, they also offer investment opportunities, agricultural facilities for farmers, create employment, housing solutions, and so much more. This is in turn causing increased socio-economic development in the country.

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