PRETORIA, South Africa-- The global recession and its impact on African credit unions, or SACCOs, was a popular topic among regulators at the World Council of Credit Union's second annual African SACCO Regulators' Roundtable last week.
The global recession could have a severe effect on food prices, which had already been rising, said Dave Grace, WOCCU's vice president of association services. In addition, economic downturns in developed countries often result in declines in economic aid and reductions in charitable giving, all of which could present unforeseen challenges for Africa's SACCOs.
Regulatory and economic issues topped the agenda, and other topics included lessons learned in legislative development, designing supervisory systems appropriate for financial cooperatives and building service capacity among the continent's SACCOs. Roundtable participants included representatives from Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, all of which have SACCO-specific legislation in development.
"This was the first time I attended the roundtable, and the wealth of knowledge and experience was really rich and diverse," said Olaotse Matshane, director of financial inclusion for South Africa's National Treasury. "Just when I thought I knew so much about SACCOs and their regulations, the roundtable helped me realize that I know so little and there is much South Africa can learn from other countries."