BY TSEGAYE TILAHUN
ADDIS ABABA – Saving and Credit Institutions and Cooperative Associations have become reliable and most sought after sources of finance for millions of people particularly the unbanked ones, Federal Cooperative Associations Agency said.
The Agency’s Public Relations and Communication Director Ayalsew Worknew told The Ethiopian Herald recently that communities including living on far-flung are forming associations in different sectors to ease their social and economic burdens.
Having over five million members and collecting more than 20 billion Birr, over 23,000 basic cooperative associations organized in saving and credit institutions are currently operating in the country.
These days, saving and credit institutions are serving as the best financial sources at all levels and in remote areas. These entities are contributing their share in increasing financial accessibility. Lack of finance has been the main challenge in the economic activities of citizens. Now, farmer, pastoralists and any other individuals can save and borrow the amount of money from cooperatives, she stated.
Moreover, 92,000 fundamental cooperative associations, 393 unions and four federations have been engaging in agriculture, manufacturing and other economic activities with a total membership of over 21.5 million people. The sector has also created millions of job opportunities over the years.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, these institutions have been supplying personal protective equipment and helping the efforts to stymie inflation through creating direct market linkage and supplying quality products in fair price.
Currently, activities are underway to form cooperatives based on various professions in housing development, accounting, health and other sectors, Ayalsew underlined.
Besides creating jobs and providing finances, some 50 cooperative associations have been generating foreign currency exporting value added products to international market.