‘Happy family!’

African congress reinforces the creative power of cooperative principles to better people’s lives.

Tony Budet, CUNA Board chair and CEO at UFCU (left), ACCOSCA Executive Director George Ombado, and Heather McKissick, UFCU’s executive vice president of community impact, marketing, and communication.

This fall, I attended the 22nd Savings and Credit Cooperatives Associations Congress in the Kingdom of Eswatini in southern Africa. I represented CUNA at the invitation of the African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA).

ACCOSCA is a Pan-African confederation of national associations of savings and credit cooperative societies known as SACCOS. Their vision is to promote financial inclusion across Africa, and they function much like CUNA does in the U.S., uniting and empowering credit union associations, leagues, employees, and board members.

ACCOSCA’s mission of sustainably empowering SACCOs in Africa through technical programs reaches more than 5,000 credit unions across the continent, representing more than 750 million consumers.

The congress was a gathering of more than 500 people representing 22 African nations. There, I shared my viewpoints on cooperative leadership, forged lasting relationships, and learned about the issues facing African credit unions—many of which are similar to those we face in the U.S.


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