The government plans to register more co-operative societies in foreign countries with a large number of Kenyans.
Industrialisation and Enterprise Development secretary Adan Mohamed said the ministry plans to register saccos abroad to help Kenyans in the diaspora invest.
“This initiative will assist Kenyans in foreign countries to make structured remittances and facilitate investment at home,” he said in a speech read on his behalf by assistant county commissioner Jonathan Enkai during International Co-operative Day (Ushirika Day) celebrations in Isinya town recently.
Last year, the ministry registered two such saccos in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Kenya USA Diaspora Sacco chairman Frank Kioko while launching the society last year said: “The registration of this sacco is a huge investment opportunity for us here in diaspora and big economic boost in our country.”
Saccos play a key role in economic growth through the provision of loans to many unbanked Kenyans.
The sub-sector has to date mobilised Sh400 billion in domestic savings, which is 33 per cent of the national savings. They have total asset base of Sh300 billion.
The International Co-operative Alliance ranks Kenyan saccos first in Africa and seventh globally.
The number of registered saccos has increased to more than 15,000 this year compared to 11,968 in 2008.
“It is projected that the savings will increase to Sh700 billion this year with registration of more saccos in diaspora,” said Mr Mohamed.
He said that the saccos abroad would encourage Kenyans to fully participate in emerging markets in East Africa.
“Their activities under the co-operative business model cuts across all sectors of our economy and impacts greatly in areas such as finance, agriculture, transport, health, education, and housing, among others,” said Mr Mohamed.
He said the ministry had deployed co-operative commissioners and directors of audit to the counties in line with the Constitution.
Speaking at the function, district co-operative officer Maina Mwangi said: “We urge youths and women to form saccos for entrepreneurial activities in order to fight joblessness and poverty.”
District Co-operative Development Committee chairman Martin Orwa asked sacco leaders to adopt best business practices and accountability.
“We need to be business minded and nurture good practices, this will not only enhance confidence in sacco business but also safeguard funds,” said Mr Orwa.
He also called on the government to ensure youth groups were adequately funded and members trained.
The leaders said that matatu and boda boda (motorcyle taxi) saccos were the fastest growing among co-operatives, helping to create jobs in the transport sector.