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The Gambia

Region: Western Block

Date of joining - 02/12/1982

Website: 

THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CO-OPERATIVE CREDIT UNIONS OF THE GAMBIA (NACCUG)

1.     BACKGROUND    INFORMATION

The National Association of Cooperative Credit Unions of The Gambia - NACCUG, was formed in August 1991 as an Apex body of all the affiliated Cooperative Credit Unions in The Gambia. The formation of NACCUG constituted as one of the 1985 strategies of the Gambia Government Economic Recovery Programme - ERP- aimed at complementing Gambia Government efforts in poverty alleviation programme. Prior to its formation in 1991, Cooperative Credit Unions were under the umbrella of the defunct Gambia Cooperative Union (GCU) and were known as Thrift and Cooperatives (TCC).These TCCs had little or no supervision from the GCU, which concentrated its activities more on agriculture and marketing of agricultural products. This led to the inability of Cooperative Credit Unions to function effectively.

In 1989 following a report from the World Bank on the Co-operative Movement in The Gambia, the GCU was asked to shed its responsibility for the TCC’s.  These TCC’s had to be taken over and supervised by the Department of Co-operatives.  It meant also that these societies were, in theory, to be self-managed, however, the skills and resources required to make this happen were not available.

It was because of this situation that the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) was invited to send a representative to The Gambia in 1989.  They in turn recommended that the African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA) send out a study team to carry out an institutional analysis of the Thrift and Savings Societies throughout The Gambia.  The results indicated very positive signs and potential for the survival of savings and credit unions in this country if members were properly trained.

The Irish League of Credit Unions Foundation (ILCUF) became involved at this point, and negotiated with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and later the European Union, to co-fund a project to strengthen the Credit Union Movement in The Gambia.  Following a number of detailed meetings and information visits, NACCUG was established in August 1991 as the apex organisation of all the affiliated Cooperative Credit Unions in the Gambia. The key thematic area of focus was on institutional development of co-operative Credit Unions to mobilise savings and to provide credit facilities to its members.

The Irish League Representatives have since then organised leadership training programmes and given detailed administrative advice and recommendations for the operation of Credit Unions and NACCUG.

VISION

A Movement that provides the best and most cost effective and efficient financial and non financial services; to become a model for viable Financial Cooperatives in The Gambia through the Credit Union principles and making it a household word.

MISSION

NACCUG will endeavour:

  • To fight poverty through the Philosophy and Principles of Credit Unions
  • To develop and make available the best financial and non financial services to the members at reasonable cost.
  • To maintain the long – term viability of the Association through self-sustaining strategies.
  • To promote and support the development of viable Credit Unions through sound and market based business strategies
  • To conserve the image of NACCUG as a model financial co-operative.

2.     MEMBERSHIP, SAVINGS AND CREDIT GROWTH    

To-date, NACCUG has 55 affiliated Credit Unions across the Country. As at end December 2008, membership stood at 29, 511 with a total savings of D155 million. Loans outstanding amounts to D131 million over the same period. The Treasury Bill and other investment portfolio by Credit Unions stood at D12 million. A substantial proportion (36%) of those members are women, most of whom are engaged in small scale farming during the rainy season, and income generating activities in the dry season (gardening, soap making, sewing, petty trading, etc.).

Industrial/Workplace Credit Unions have also taken centre stage in Credit Union activities. The Banjul Kombo Chapter constitutes the biggest block out of the six Chapters established by NACCUG Countrywide. There are twenty (19) Workplace Credit Unions in the Banjul Kombo Chapter.

3.     The Chapter System

In-order to facilitate communication and information flow at all levels of the Movement; the Credit Union Chapter System/Structure was established 13 years ago.  Currently, there are six (6) Chapters throughout the country.  Each Credit Union has a representative in the Chapter. Chapter Officers are elected out of the representatives who co-ordinate the activities and networking of Credit Unions.  The Chapter members also elect a representative to the NACCUG Board every two years at the Annual General Meeting and all Chapters have their own bye-laws. 

4.    Twinning with Irish Credit Unions.

Through the partnership of NACCUG and the ILCUF, ten (10) Credit Unions have been twinned with Irish Credit Unions.  Twinned Partners provide assistance in the form of computer software and hardware, some provide funding for the remuneration of managers for workplace Credit Unions or a Roaming bookkeeper to help community-based Credit Unions record and update their books of accounts.

5.     Education, Training and Advice

As the Apex Body for Credit Unions, NACCUG supports its affiliates through regular training of Board of Directors, loan committee members, supervisory committee members, promotions committee members and provides regular general members education.

Through this training, Credit Union members have benefited a lot in being able to manage their Credit Unions.  Credit Unions operate their own bank accounts, issue out loans for agricultural, educational, health, and small enterprise development purposes.   Some of the larger and financially stronger ones have started to provide car and building loans and mobile telephones to their members.  All these loans are properly documented and the data is available at the Credit Union offices.

Credit Unions are also provided the facility for financial investment, technical advisory services, and regular inspection of Credit Union accounts and annual audits of Credit unions.

6.    Central Finance Facility

This is a facility set –up by the members as an investment tool in which they save monies that they do not have an immediate need. These funds are invested in an investment facility called, Central Finance Facility (CFF). The Facility is currently being managed by NACCUG through the CFF Manager and has an investment portfolio of D5 million.  Presently, Credit Unions are borrowing from the facility to provide their members with enough liquid funds to be able to effectively deliver efficient financial services to their members. The Facility charges reasonable interest to borrowers and pays back good returns on invested capital.  It is like a Credit Union for Credit Unions.

Contact Person:

Coordinator National Association of Cooperative Credit Unions In Gambia (NACCUG)

Sere Kunda

P.M.B. 35,

Banju,l THE GAMBIA