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WOCCU No CUs affected in Kenyan turmoil
MADISON, Wis. (1/3/08)--Recent deadly riots over a disputed presidential election in Kenya have not affected credit unions in that country, according to the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). Violence in Kenya has resulted in more than 300 people killed since President Mwai Kibaki was re-elected and sworn in for another term as the country’s president Sunday. The opposition candidate claimed the election was rigged (USA Today Jan. 2). Most of the violence has occurred in the city of Nairobi. Only 3% of the country’s 34 million people have been affected by the violence, according to a Kenyan government spokesman. The violence is costing the country $31 million per day, said Kenyan Vice President Moody Awori (The Associated Press Jan. 2). WOCCU has three projects in Kenya related to SACCOs or credit unions. “All three projects are on hold for at least another week before they get back underway,” Brian Branch, WOCCU chief operating officer and executive vice president, told News Now. “There was no known damage to credit unions because most everything was shut down due to the holidays and the election. So most businesses were not operating [when the riots broke out].” The SACCO Growth Project, which is funded by the Gates Foundation, is directed by Jesus Chavez. The project, which is designed to provide technical assistance to consultants who work with credit unions, is in Kibera, a slum inside Nairobi. Another project in Nairobi, funded by the British, is the SACCO Capacity Building Program, managed by Erick Sile. It is designed to improve the product pricing and financial efficiency of about 20 SACCOs. The third project is Mitigating the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Economic Growth through Credit Union Modernization; Institutional Restructuring; Agricultural Business Development and Services and Education. The project is run by Sam Dunlap in the city of Kisumu, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Sile is currently in Kenya, while Chavez and Dunlap are in the U.S. waiting to return to Kenya when tensions ease, Branch said. Kenya has 2,993 credit unions nationwide with more than 3.26 million members, totaling $2.147 billion in assets, according to WOCCU statistics.
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