Cooperatives & CommunitiesDevelopmentEast Africa

Men and youths dominate saccos – report

A third of the 4.78 million members of Saccos in Kenya are youth.

In Summary
  • There are over 4.97 million individuals as well as corporate or institutional members in SACCOs.
  • Of the individual members, 60.65 per cent are men, while 34.23 per cent are women

More men in Kenya join Saccos than women, which defies the gender demographics in a country with slightly more women than men.

The youth are also increasingly involved in Sacco activities, which has in the past been perceived as a preserve of the old.

These are the findings of the Sacco Subsector Demographic Study Report 2019 that was launched last Saturday.

The Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (Sasra) undertook the study, the first ever, on the 174 licensed deposit-taking Saccos (DT-Saccos) as at December 2018 to establish the demographic composition and distribution of Sacco membership.

There are over 4.97 million natural persons (individuals) as well as corporate or institutional members among the DT-Saccos.

Among the 4.97 million members, 4.78 million are individuals representing 96.2 per cent of the total membership.

Of the individual members, 60.65 per cent are men while 34.23 per cent are women.

Another 5.12 per cent were not disclosed as either male or female, meaning they may have not answered some questions about gender right during the study.

“The imbalance may however be attributed to the probable dominance by the male gender in key socio-economic activities, from which Saccos traditionally draw their membership such as agricultural production (dairy, tea, coffee production, etc); or formal employment opportunities,” reads the report in part.

The youth (aged between 18 and 35) account for 30.86 per cent of the total individual members, representing almost a third.

“This demystifies the public rhetoric that Sacco membership has no place for the youth,” the report reads.

Sasra chair John Munuve on Thursday said the Sacco subsector wants to eventually be able to grow its own financial base so as to transact any business without necessarily making reference to any other person or entity, especially banks.

“We know there will be a lot of resistance because nobody would like to sign away money. Banks benefit from the wealth of Saccos because all the clearing is done there,” said Munuve.

Munuve asked Cooperatives PS Ali Noor Ismail to help the Sacco subsector achieve that dream.

PS Noor said Cabinet had already approved the national cooperatives policy.

“The proposed regulations of the non-deposit taking Saccos has also been approved by the Cabinet,” the PS said.

The PS also announced that the establishment of a full investigations unit that will be domiciled in Sasra has been approved.

The unit will deal with issues of fraud, which the Saccos have been victims of on numerous occasions.

The unit will also deal with cases where individuals start Saccos, collect money from members and then disappear with the money, leaving the savers helpless.

Noor said he was happy that more youth were showing interest in the saving culture but decried the low number of women in Saccos.

“We should create an enabling environment for more women to join Saccos even in the leadership positions.

“But you women should also fight for these positions. You should not wait for them to be handed to you,” he said.

(Source/ The Star)

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