ACCOSCA and Visa Launch a Project to Boost Financial Inclusion in Kenya and Tanzania

In a bid to improve the access and usage of formal financial services among underserved communities and small businesses in Kenya and Tanzania, ACCOSCA (the African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Associations) and Visa, a global leader in digital payments, have partnered to launch the Financial Inclusion in Kenya and Tanzania (FIKT) project.

The project aims to leverage the co-operative and SACCOs movement and the Visa network to reach millions of unbanked and underbanked people across the two countries.

The FIKT project will support the development and delivery of innovative and affordable financial products and services that meet the needs and preferences of the target segments. It will also enhance the capacity and sustainability of the participating co-operative societies and their apex organizations, as well as foster a conducive policy and regulatory environment for financial inclusion. Additionally, the project will conduct awareness campaigns and financial literacy programs to increase the demand and uptake of formal financial services among the potential and existing customers.

Speaking during the official launch of the Project, Hon. Simon Chelugui, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Cooperatives and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development applauded ACCOSCA and Visa for their cooperation to create an inclusive and enabling environment that empowers men, women, and youth in Kenya and Tanzania to overcome financial barriers and achieve their economic aspirations, terming it as a true embodiment of the cooperative principles and philosophy.

“The project stands resolute in accelerating and supporting the National Government’s efforts towards providing services to the unbanked, and fostering financial literacy and resilience, ensuring that no one is left behind in our collective journey towards prosperity as envisioned by the government’s Transformation Agenda” Hon. Chelugui added.

George Ombado, Executive Director of ACCOSCA revealed that the purpose-driven partnership is committed to advancing inclusive, equitable, and sustainable growth for the citizens in both countries.

“ACCOSCA is very intentional in enhancing Financial Inclusion through Financial Education and Digital Financial Solutions across Africa. We are accelerating Financial Inclusion to unleash the untapped potential of Africa. We want to see our people access financial products and services therefore foster economic growth, promote entrepreneurship, investment, and productivity, and allow vulnerable communities to invest in education and healthcare while shielding them from financial vulnerabilities” he added.

While making her remarks, Eva-Ngigi-Sarwari, Country Manager of Visa Kenya said a blend of financial education and uptake of digital payments holds the potential to rapidly advance financial inclusion and economic growth for MSMEs in Kenya and Tanzania, who form a large base the members and potential members in SACCOs.

“This can be done through developing targeted training programs specifically for women, considering their unique financial requirements and challenges as well as partnering with women-led organizations and community groups to expand outreach and accessibility. Educational programs can increase awareness of the wide range of digital financial services. These programs should emphasize the benefits and functionalities of these services” she noted.

The FIKT project is expected to have a significant impact on the socio-economic well-being of the beneficiaries, as well as contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities). The project will also align with the national development plans and strategies of Kenya and Tanzania, such as the Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda in Kenya, and the Vision 2025 and the Five-Year Development Plan in Tanzania.

The launch event was attended by representatives from ACCOSCA, Visa, the co-operative sector, the government, the private sector, the civil society, the media, and other stakeholders. The speakers at the event highlighted the importance and relevance of the FIKT project, as well as the opportunities and challenges of advancing financial inclusion in Kenya and Tanzania. They also expressed their commitment and support to the successful implementation and scaling up of the project.

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