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ACCOSCA and VISA Launch Partnership to Drive Financial Inclusion in Kenya and Tanzania

ACCOSCA and VISA Launch Partnership to Drive Financial Inclusion in Kenya and Tanzania

By Linda Karimi

The African Confederation of Cooperatives Savings & Credit Association (ACCOSCA) and VISA, a global digital payments provider, have unveiled a partnership to improve access and usage of formal financial services in Kenya and Tanzania.

The initiative, dubbed Financial Inclusion in Kenya and Tanzania (FIKT), is designed to leverage the cooperative and SACCO sectors, and the Visa infrastructure, to reach unbanked and underbanked individuals across the two countries.

Launched in March this year, FIKT, ACCOSCA said, is poised to make a positive impact on financial inclusion and economic growth, particularly for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Kenya and Tanzania, a large portion of whom are members - or potential - members of SACCOs. 

“The project aims to achieve this by supporting the development and delivery of innovative and affordable financial products and services tailored to the needs of the target segments. It also seeks to enhance the capacity and sustainability of participating cooperative societies and their apex organizations, as well as create a conducive policy and regulatory environment for financial inclusion,” a statement from ACCOSCA reads in part.

Speaking during the partnership launch, Simon Chelugui, chief guest and Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Cooperatives and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development, emphasized the role of SACCOs in Kenya's economy, noting that they have been a keystone of Kenya’s financial services at the grassroots level.

 “FIKT project aligns with the National Government's efforts to provide services to the underbanked, ensuring that no Kenyan is left behind in the journey towards prosperity as envisioned by the Bottom-Up Transformation Agenda. This project aims to address the challenges faced by men, women, and youth in Africa in accessing financial services and resources, ultimately aiming to create an inclusive and enabling environment to support communities in overcoming financial barriers and achieving their economic aspirations,” he said.

Eva-Ngigi-Sarwari, Country Manager of Visa Kenya, elucidated the importance of a blend of financial education and the uptake of digital payments in advancing financial inclusion and economic growth for MSMEs in Kenya and Tanzania. She echoed the need for targeted training programs for women and promoting cooperatives in Africa to expand outreach and accessibility, emphasizing the benefits and functionalities of digital financial services through educational programs.

Arnold Munene, Acting Managing Director of KUSCCO, lauded the partnership as a win-win situation and expounded the crucial role of digitization in enhancing financial inclusion for SACCOs. He emphasized the benefits of digitization, including improved access, cost reduction, convenience, and expanded markets, leading to increased membership, higher savings, and financial stability for organizations. 



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