The Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives Ltd. (KUSCCO) Group National Chairman George Magutu, has been elected as a board member at large in the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) global board.
Magutu is also the Vice President of ICA–Africa and is the first African cooperator to be democratically elected at the ICA global board, as a member at large.
He garnered 511 votes out of 761 votes and emerged 4th among the 22 candidates representing different countries.
The elections took place at the ICA General Assembly, in Seville, Spain, where more than 400 cooperative leaders from 60 countries gathered for the General Assembly.
Magutu has served the co-operative movement for over 30 years in various capacities, where he has contributed to the growth and development of the financial services sector through various financial inclusion programs.
Under his watch, KUSCCO has grown its business tenfold to include three (3) Subsidiary Companies, including KUSCCO Mutual Assurance. Kenya’s Co-operative movement is renowned globally and is ranked seventh globally, with over 26,000 registered co-operatives, a membership of over 14 million and assets to the tune of Sh1.3 trillion.
Notably, financial co-operatives or SACCOs are leading in financial performance as at 2021, with deposits of over Sh585.3 billion, assets of about Sh859.8 billion and loans disbursed to members averaging Sh623.5 billion.
Magutu was elated at this opportunity to create more impact in the co-operative movement in Africa. In his manifesto, he assured co-operators that he would work together with Governments, private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations among other stakeholders, to improve legislation, leading to the formation and sustainability of viable Co-operatives.
Magutu also committed to help solve the unemployment crisis, by promoting the
Co-operative form of enterprise as a suitable business model for youth, due to low capital requirements, distributed risks and limited liability.
“We shall endeavor to create awareness to the youth on the importance of joining or forming Co-operatives to uplift their standards of living. This will create opportunities for Africa’s youth to access health, education and jobs. We will also work with all stakeholders to put in place policies that encourage educational institutions in various countries to include the Co-operative model in their curricula,” said Magutu.
To mitigate against climate change, Magutu committed to advocate for farmer co-operatives to promote climate-smart agricultural practices amongst their members.
“We shall also advocate for SACCOs to finance the agriculture sector by giving loans to farmers to buy farm inputs, solar powered rain water harvesting and irrigation equipment among other smart-farming technology. Insurance Co-operatives should also ensure resilience for co-operators by insuring crops against adverse weather patterns,” Magutu emphasized.
Co-operatives are a major solution to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in particular, goal number one (1)—end poverty in all its forms everywhere and goal number eight (8)— promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
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