Saccos have grown in Africa with a vast majority onboarding huge numbers of members monthly. It is crucial that as Saccos are growing and transforming, the continent is also experiencing a fast-tracked digital transformation. How are these two related?, this was the main topic of discussion at the Africa SaccoTech Forum CEO’s breakfast.
Sponsored by Safaricom, the CEO’s breakfast saw the attendance of CEOs, CIOs, and IT leaders in the SaccoTech space in Kenya. The event also had a loaded panel that discussed the relationship between digital transformation and Saccos in Africa and how the former can support the latter.
The panel was moderated by dx⁵’s Chairman and Content Director, Harry Hare, with panelists Chief Enterprise Business Officer at Safaricom PLC Kris Senanu, Association of Fintechs in Kenya‘s Chairman Ali Hussein, Kwara Technologies Founder and CEO Cynthia Wandia, and the ICT Manager at Mwalimu National Sacco Sammy Nyambu.
The panel all agreed that it is important for Saccos to embrace digital transformation because it is inescapable. Today, Sacco members are experiencing the technological convenience in other services and it is crucial that Saccos embrace technology to give its members a seamless experience.
Kris Senanu talked of Safaricom’s role in the sector and how it is helping Saccos and fintech walk the digital transformation journey.
“At Safaricom, we began as a telecommunications company but have grown into more of a tech company today. These fintech in the market need to understand that we are not here as competitors but rather enablers and collaborators,” Kris noted. “We have worked with a few Saccos and have helped them digitize and it is clear that Saccos are becoming more important as they begin to digitise. It helps them attract new members.”
Kris Senanu added that “the Sacco industry is ready and ripe for digital transformation.”
As more Saccos go digital, it is bringing the pressure to the rest of the Sacco space as members become accustomed to convenience. Put in the words of Hussein, “Either go digital or go home.”
Sammy Nyambu, the ICT Manager at Mwalimu National Sacco, agreed with Ali saying that there’s no way forward for Saccos but to just digitize. Sammy admits that the pressure to digitize is building up in most Saccos. He says that the demand is coming both internally and externally. The members themselves are pressuring Saccos to bring them digital solutions that will make their experiences more convenient.
Ali Hussein further noted that the digitizing of Saccos is not a difficult affair and it’s a journey that can start with the simplest thing.
“Let it start with a simple thing like onboarding. Saccos need to have a digital way of onboarding new members and it needs to be seamless and convenient,” Ali said, “A majority of Saccos are still doing table banking. Let’s improve these things within our Saccos.”
Digital transformation is important to Saccos, these are both rapidly growing at the same time. Digital transformation is an important tool for the growth of Saccos.