The World Council of Credit Unions (Woccu) has announced a new credit union development programme for Burkina Faso, Kenya, Senegal and Guatemala, launching next month.
Running from October 2023 to 2028, the Accelerating Growth and Inclusion in Lending for Credit Unions (AGIL4CU) project is being made possible through a US$9.3m (£7.5m) grant from the USAID Cooperative Development Program.
The project is designed to improve credit union leaders’ strategic and technical capacity; increase the value of digital services for financial inclusion; expand on and emphasise streamlined micro-, small- and medium-enterprise (MSME) lending processes for economic growth; implement youth and women specific loan products and expand climate adaptive financing.
AGIL4CU builds on Woccu’s current USAID- funded Technology and Innovation for Financial Inclusion (TIFI) programme, which has been running in the same four countries for the past five years.
TIFI has been working to increase lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the use of a World Council SME FinanceToolkit, helping organisations such as Fortune Sacco in Kenya to streamline their lending process.
With this support, Fortune granted more loans to local entrepreneurs, including pharmacist Nancy Kariuki who needed to expand her business to meet demand generated during Covid-19. The loan enabled Nancy to hire four new staff and triple her business’s revenue within a year.
The next iteration of this programme, AGIL4CU, will have the same aim of supporting entrepreneurs in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Senegal and Guatemala through local financial institutions, said Angelina Tracy, Woccu’s vice-president of strategic growth and partnerships. But this time, she added, it will “go even further, by helping credit unions create new loan products that specifically benefit women and young adults, while making their members and communities more climate-resilient”.