The World Council of Credit Union (WOCCU) has set ‘Challenge 2025’ with the key objective of increasing membership in Co-operatives worldwide, going forward, through the digitization of the of the global Co-operative system by 2025.In 2014, the Council set a goal of reaching 260 million Co-operative members worldwide by 2020.
A concerted worldwide effort, by Co-operatives was able to see the fulfilment of the ‘Vison 2020” goal by 2017.However, it was noted that the co-operatives that grew, were those that offered core services via online and mobile channels, hence the need for the challenge 2025.
The Council looks to measure digitization of Co-operatives, in four key areas and report annually on the progress being made toward challenge 2025.The first one is through, Digital channels through offering members core digital transaction services, such as mobile and internet banking, making online payments and online loan processing.
Inculcating Digital Payments, that will connect co-operatives, to a shared payment system, allowing mobile payments and integrated with a national payments system, is also a paramount area of focus. Employing Data Analytics, will also be an interest area, in determining additional service offering to members, and identifying those that need financial literacy or counseling services.
Cybersecurity, makes for the fourth critical area in the achievement of Challenge 2025, through the implementation of a cybersecurity system that complies with national regulations, to protect members’ consumer data from digital attacks and intrusions. In the wake of cybercrimes such as phishing schemes, account takeover fraud, data breaches, identity theft, money laundering and other digital scams; cyber security systems are of utmost importance to protect members’ funds.
The era of digital disruption in Kenya, has never proved more significant in the Co-operative sector, than it has been in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Savings and Credit Co-operatives, that have made the digital shift in their services, have been leveraging on the platform as their safety nets; consequently, not experiencing the full scope of the pandemic’s impact, as opposed to the ones that are entirely dependent on their brick and mortar offices.
There has been a rapid proliferation and mushrooming of fintechs that offer these ICT solutions to Saccos, and co-operatives across the board should ensure they recruit credible and competent fintechs to make their digital migration.
The 5th edition of the annual Sacco Leaders Convention, could not have been more timely, held in late February in Mombasa with the focus being embracing and investing in innovative technology driven strategies and solutions, as the future of the lucrative sector, to enhance efficiency in operations and convenience in service delivery to members. The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) in their 2020 global regulatory update, digitization was a top agenda especially in the fight against cybercrimes among a myriad of other benefits.
Mobile and internet banking has especially been embraced by some co-operatives and is proving to be a godsend, during this turbulent times of the Coronavirus outbreak, where transacting using cash is considered a risk factor, in spreading the virus.
Restrictions in mobility lockdowns’, have rendered the use of online services a basic necessity. Challenge 2025, might be achieved within a shorter time span then the precedent, given the urgent need of digitization in not only co-operatives but also all sectors of the economy.