The SACCA Congress is one of the major international co–operative conferences that take place on rotational basis in African countries annually and normally in the month of October. It brings together Co-operators from all over the world to address key topical issues facing SACCOs and explore strategic and innovative techniques of ensuring sustainable co-operative financial institutions. The congress expects the participation of more than 700 delegates from all over Africa and this includes Cooperative Managers and Directors, Government officials involved in Cooperative development, Regulators of Financial institutions and SACCOs, Cooperative Unions, Trade union experts, Development Agencies operating in Africa and members of the SACCO family in Africa. In year 2016, the 17th SACCA Congress was held in Kigali, Rwanda . This year, Malawi has been selected to host the 18th SACCA Congress scheduled to take place from 24th to 27th October 2017 at Bingu Conference Centre in Lilongwe. As it is normally the case with such conferences, the Government through the Ministry responsible for Cooperatives, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the SACCOs apex body, Malawi and Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO) will be principle hosts on behalf of the Government. It is expected that the Congress will attract over 600 participants from co-operative institutions from within Malawi, other African countries, Asia, Europe, Canada and United States of America.
2.0 The Congress Objectives and Purpose
• Engage Stakeholders in Promoting and Supporting Initiatives that lead to a whole inclusive Co-operative sector development and growth
• Promote Efficiency in Co-operatives by Advocating for Adoption and Usage of information Technology and other innovations in financial services delivery to SACCO members
• Promote SACCOs to actively get involved in Economic Development and financial inclusion agenda
3.0 The Congress Expected Outcome
ACCOSCA hopes to through this summit in line with its mandate achieve the following;
• Create solid networks for the cooperative sector in Africa
• Promote SACCOs and other Cooperative Institutions supporting finance inclusion for access to actively get involved in the African Development Agenda
• Promote financial inclusion by encouraging involvement of marginalized groups
4.0 Congress Targets
Specifically, the congress targets:
• CEOs of small & medium Co-operatives Financial Institutions
• Senior managers of Co-operatives Financial Institutions and related private sector, SACCOs, Co-operative Board/Management Committees
• Micro- Financial institutions and Stakeholders promoting Co-operative objectives and Financial inclusion for access
• Senior government/agencies' officials and development partners involved in promoting & supporting this sub-sector.
• Officials working for Research Institutions, Co-operative Universities and Cooperative College
• Government officials involved in Cooperative development,
• Regulators of Financial institutions and SACCOs,
• Cooperative Unions leaders and Management
5.0 Justification of the Congress
The co-operative business model is among possible solutions to poverty among people living in Africa. ACCOSCA believes that if proper channels are put in place, if the sector is harmonized to allow integration both vertically and horizontally, if each unit plays their role and respects the roles of others in the sector, then it is possible to realize change. SACCOs in Africa have had continuous and steady growth in the past years which has encouraged diversification of products and increase in membership, asset base and deposits. The sector has become a main source of employment for many and if well supported and harnessed can become an effective conduit and catalyst for development in Africa especially at grassroots levels.
It is also an avenue for interacting with other stakeholders who work towards sustainable development goals. This will allow sharing of working practices and a guide towards exactly how the cooperative sector can get involved in post Millennium Development Goals (2015). The sector is without doubt a major source of livelihood for many and it is safe to conclude that development of this continent can be achieved through this sector. It is thus paramount that the cooperative movement comes together and begins conversations on how to ascertain financial inclusion for all and alleviate poverty among people living in Africa.