By Joyce Wambui
African credit unions had the largest increase in membership in 2018 with a 21 per cent jump from 2017 according to World Council of Credit Unions last year Statistical Report.
Globally the membership stands at more than 274 million with a 9.38 per cent penetration. The report also showed that there were 85,400 credit unions.
In Africa, Kenya had the largest co-operative movement in terms of membership, savings and shares. The report indicates that there were about 8 million co-operators in the country from 7,301 credit unions.
The credit unions, locally known as saving and credit co-operatives, in the country were able to give loans 6.7 US dollars during the year under review according to the report. The movement recorded 28.40 per cent penetration across the country.
Other countries with a strong co-operative sector in the continent were Rwanda, Togo, Ethiopia, Benin and Tanzania.
“The credit unions are growing at a rapid pace since the more people want to be associated with the benefits that are brought about by being a member of a credit union such as loans with lower interest rates. Their growth is driven by consumer demands for convenience and seamless integration into the digital economy,” said World Council President and CEO Brian Branch.