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350 attend WOCCUs Africa SACCO Tech Congress
BANJUL, The Gambia (10/30/08)--More than 350 volunteer leaders and staff from 18 nations studied new ways to overcome adversity and better manage their savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) during the World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) Africa SACCO Technical Congress last week in Gambia.
African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) Treasurer Hubert Hoosman Jr. (center) enjoys a moment with Patson Ngwevela from South Africa (left) and Kusi Boachie from Ghana at the 2008 World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) Africa SACCO Technical Congress.
The event, held in conjunction with WOCCU’s Management Certification program, was co-sponsored by the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC), the Canadian Cooperative Association, the Irish League of Credit Unions and the National Association of Co-operative Credit Unions of The Gambia. The sessions offered participants an opportunity to tap into solutions critical to issues affecting SACCO performance. The congress sessions focused on the growing need for financial services in increasingly turbulent social environments throughout Africa. Effective SACCO management has never faced a time of greater challenge, according to Sylvester Kadzola, a WOCCU director and chief executive for the Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Cooperatives.
Click to view larger image Participants from Ghana enthusiastically wave their country's flag during the World Council of Credit Unions Africa SACCO Technical Congress opening ceremonies.
“Given the current social and economic conditions many of us face, participation in events like WOCCU's Technical Congress has become even more important for SACCOs in Africa,” said Kadzola. “Africa has made tremendous progress in the areas of government, technology and the development of regulations to enhance SACCOs’ ability to properly serve members,” added Hubert Hoosman Jr., treasurer for AACUC and president/CEO of Vantage CU, Bridgeton, Mo. “But there is still significant work to be done.” Much of that work concerns issues such as the civil unrest that shut down SACCOs and other businesses in Kenya for several weeks earlier this year, the need for greater government oversight and credit union-specific regulations and the continuing battle against HIV/AIDs. SACCOs have launched HIV/AIDs education and awareness programs to protect members who are succumbing to the disease in increasing numbers.
World Council of Credit Unions Director Sylvester Kadzola addresses Africa Technical Congress participants. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
Congress participants came from Botswana, Burundi, Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Canada, Ireland and the U.S. Officials from the government of The Gambia who attended the opening ceremonies included Fatou Lamin Faye, secretary of state for basic and secondary education; Abdoulie Bojan, deputy speaker of the National Assembly; Sheriff Gomez, secretary of state for youth and sports; Fatim Badjie Janneh, secretary of state for information and communications; Bakary Sonko, director general of the National Agricultural Development Agency; and Bamba Saho, governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia.
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