Co-op consortium formed to help farmers in Africa gain access to financial services

Organisations from Canada, Ireland and Africa are teaming up to improve rural outreach for credit unions in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Malawi

The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is leading a three-partner consortium in a new project to make financial services more accessible to smallholder farmers, women and young people in eastern and southern Africa.

“Our aim is to enable credit unions in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Malawi to improve their rural financial outreach through technological innovations such as mobile banking for co-operatives, youth savings and insurance,” said Michael Casey, executive director of the Canadian Co-operative Association and the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada.

“We will do this by building the capacity of their national associations to scale-up services and reach, engaging with other national credit union associations in Africa, and fostering credit union friendly legislation and policies.”

Working with the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) Foundation and the African Confederation of Savings and Credit Co-operative Associations (ACOSCCA), CCA will employ credit union expertise from Canada and its credit union partners across Africa to make rural financial services more widely available in the three countries.

“We are tapping into the legacy of three decades of partnerships and exchanges between African and Canadian credit unions through direct technical assistance, the Women’s Mentorship Program, coaching programs and study missions,” said Mr Casey.

The four-year, USD $3.28 million project is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

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The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is a not-for-profit co-operative which establishes and strengthens co-operatives, credit unions and community-based organizations to reduce poverty, build sustainable livelihoods and improve civil society in developing countries. CCA delivers programs for the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF) and other organisations which help communities fight poverty and create more secure lives through community-owned co-ops.

The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF) is a registered charitable organisation. It raises money, mostly from Canadian co-operatives and co-op members to help alleviate poverty by building and strengthening financial and non-financial co-ops in developing countries.

Working with the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and other partners, it helps communities fight poverty and create more secure lives through community-owned co-ops.

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