Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the celebrations were restricted to online events. The World Savings Week, which started from 26th October, was ushered in style with a series of webinar talks that saw experts and stakeholders in the SACCO’s and Microfinance Institutions convened in e-panels discussions to discuss various trending topics that are associated with savings promotion.
The Webinar series provided a unique platform for the panelists to share knowledge and updates on how synergies in the broader financial infrastructure can be tapped to promote an inclusive savings culture in Kenya. Expert conversations examined the changing landscape of the savings infrastructure, especially with the growth in digital financial services (DFS), especially among SACCOs and MFI’s. Furthermore, testimonials from SACCOs members and clients of Microfinance Institutions enriched the conversations by providing anecdotal evidence on issues surrounding savings, including the challenges and benefits.
The e-attendees had an opportunity to hear and learn from experts through the plenary session and asked questions to key industry players in the SACCO’s and MFI’s communities. The key highlights of the webinars that are crucial developments in promoting savings culture in Kenya were in the following areas;
•Assessment of Savings Landscape in Kenya post-Mobile Money
•Financial Institutions and how they can empower women savings group
•Sustainable Savings promotion among the youth
Most panel speakers acknowledge the role of technology in promoting the growth of savings in the country. Digital savings have grown tremendously over the years with the advent of mobile-money wallets and a further improvement in digital savings tools which have interest bearing aspects such as M-Shwari. Digital savings products have been lauded due to the convenience they offer. SACCO’s and MFI’s were challenged to increasingly improve their savings products by digitizing them to attract populations that still save informally, especially the youth and rural populations.
On 31st October, the World Savings Day, our country director Mr. Tonny Okoth was hosted by Ghetto Radio Kenya on a live radio session interview to talk about the importance of savings and what Sparkassesntiftung Eastern Africa has done to promote savings culture. The ghetto Radio station is popular among the youth and urban poor. The session generated many calls from the audience who highlighted their savings journey, asked questions on how to improve their savings behaviour, and encouraged others to save.
This year World Savings celebration as per theme ignited the passion for saving irrespective of the amount saved. It also helped reignite the conversation of how SACCO’s and MFI’s in Kenya can fully adopt ICT to promote savings among their members and clients.