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Leveraging on Technology to Expand Financial Inclusion and Growth | A SACCOs’ perspective

Mr. Polycup Osero, the Fintech Group’s Head of sales and marketing flew all the way from Kenya to Zimbabwe in November 2016 to grace the occasion of The Harare SACCOs Multi-Stakeholder Conference where he delivered a keynote presentation entitled: Leveraging on Technology to Expand Financial Inclusion: A SACCOs perspective.  Mr. Osero showed the audience that of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) launched in 2015, SDG number one is on ending poverty in all forms everywhere, and that one of the targets of this goal is to improve access to economic resources, financial services and microfinance. He indicated that SACCOs were better placed to contribute significantly to the reduction of poverty prevalent in Africa as they have the leverage and propensity to mobilise savings, to avail affordable credit and payments services, to dispense financial literacy programmes.  He intimated that SACCOs can be the backbone

of rural development and agricultural financing and on the whole improving the financial welfare and wellbeing of their members.

Mr. Polycup Osero went on to highlight a number of challenges facing financial inclusion in Africa and he turned these on their head to expose opportunities hidden in them for the SACCO movement, chief among these opportunities being the fact that with just a 6.8% penetration in Africa the movement has only scratched the surface compared to a penetration rate of 48.3% in North America for instance.

The heart of Mr. Polycup Osero’s message was on how Africa could overcome challenges and increase penetration leveraging on Technology to digitize services and products doing away with cost inefficient conventional brick and mortar models. He said that back office controls and governance issues are to be considered well in advance and before deployment of a system one is to make sure that the solution is robust, scalable and flexible. He went on to say that the promise of the future growth of African SACCOs lie in its tech-savvy youths hence SACCOs would do themselves a disservice by not prioritizing youths in their future programming. Africa is the continent with the youngest population ever in the world and SACCOs would do themselves a favour by not missing this demographic dividend.

SACCO services cover a wider geography of which digitization can enable members to be delighted cost effectively and efficiently. He emphasized that the deployment of technology should not only look at mobility without considering his advice on the way forward was that SACCOs should create economic blocs and not mere lobby groups, owning transaction switches and MIS systems through their apex bodies, creating and harnessing economic value chains, integrating with regulatory authorities and spreading SACCO financial inclusions wings across national payment systems and to tap into salary accounts, bill payments, tax remittances, agency and online banking. In conclusion Mr. Polycup Osero avowed that the Fintech’s in Financials Integrated MIS which has been deployed in the two (2) apex bodies in Africa is the way to go considering the low capital layout in deployment and shared cost element.

Wilson Wizalamu
B.Acc (Hons) UZ. MBA (ZOU). CIMA Dip. M.A || Certified Africa Development Educator (ADE) | SACCOs - ACCOSCA || Certified SACCO Trainer of Trainers (ToT) - DGRV || Certified Financial Educator (FE) - ILO || Certified SMEs Business Curriculum Trainer (Partners Worldwide)

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