The important role of financial cooperatives and other forms of cooperatives in the rural banking system is increasingly gaining prominence. The Government of Kenya underscores cooperatives as key pillars in its Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA). The week-long strategic workshop was convened by the Presidents’ Economic Transformation Secretariat (PETS) in collaboration with the newly formed State Department for Cooperatives and International Labour Organization, ILO. Present during the workshop also included some of AFRACA member institutions namely, Cooperative Bank, Kenya, The African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Association, ACCOSCA and Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives, KUSCCO.

AFRACA’s contribution hinged on its recent work in the small-scale fisheries sector in Kenya under the multi-disciplinary fund project, as well as innovations in the digital finance space that can be transformative to the cooperative sector. Specifically, some of the transformative recommendations shared during the strategic meeting within the context of rural and agriculture finance included; adoption of innovative technologies by cooperatives that create supply chain efficiencies, adopting blockchain technology to facilitate regional trade, the need to address governance issues among financial cooperatives and graduation of informal village savings groups to a level of formality mainly through cooperative structures.

Photo: Delegates from the Cooperative sector in Kenya during the Kenya Cooperative Transformation Strategy (KCTS) Workshop at Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa, Mombasa, 7-11th August 2023