The 17th African Confederation of Cooperative, Savings and Credit Association (ACCOSCA) summit, which took place in the Rwandan capital Kigali recently, focused on finding ways to strengthen the microfinance sector on the continent.
Speaking on the occasion, Executive Director of the Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR), John Peter Rwema, said that the summit presents Rwanda and continental sector stakeholders and experts an opportunity to engage and share experience so as to devise better mechanisms on how to further enhance African microfinance industry.
The five-day summit brought together over 1,000 delegates from Africa and beyond to discuss key issues affecting the sector on the continent.
Rwanda’s Minister for Trade, Industry and EAC Affairs, Francois Kanimba, said the summit was a platform for African Cooperatives to discuss mechanisms on how they can create integrated systems that work toward the continent's development agenda. "We hope to unite the sector and have clear objectives for the continent, especially in regards to African development agenda.
"We intend to create linkages between co-operative financial institutions and other stakeholders to network, create partnerships, share experiences, good practices and come up with practical and innovative ways of addressing the many issues that face the co-operative sector," he said.
The annual summit attracted participants from 30 countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Seychelles, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Canada, Croatia, Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland and the USA. Microfinance institutions play a central role in governments' efforts to deepen financial inclusion, as well as boost household income and reduce poverty, especially among rural communities.