Credit unions and Fintech talks at AfriCaribbean Forum

As African and Caribbean countries prepare for the inaugural AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2022 (ACTIF2022), attention is being drawn to potential opportunities for flows between the two regions to help fill existing gaps in trade and investment. knowledge and technology.

Two areas where such gaps exist are the credit union movement and fintech development. Around the world, the credit union movement has made significant progress. According to the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), of which credit unions in Africa and the Caribbean are members, there are 86,451 credit unions worldwide in 118 countries, serving 375 million people.

WOCCU, in its 2020 statistical report, estimates that the penetration rate of credit unions is 12.8%. Furthermore, the global body states that the 40,570 credit unions in Africa have 40,413,389 members in 27 countries.

Their assets total approximately US$16.1 billion and the penetration rate has been calculated at 14.34%. Meanwhile, in the Caribbean, WOCCU says 18 countries have 375 credit unions with a total of 3,763,325 members. It should be noted that the assets total 10.5 billion US dollars. The penetration rate of credit unions in the Caribbean is 65.97%, the highest among the seven regions identified by WOCCU.

The success of Caribbean credit unions is to be applauded. The savings of the average Caribbean credit union member are nine times greater than those of African credit union members. It is believed that these financial entities have best practices that they can share with their African counterparts to further develop the credit union movement on the African continent.

On the other hand, Africa has been a leader in the fintech industry. The continent’s fintech sector is strong and sustainable, which could benefit the Caribbean if collaborations continue. These alliances shouldn’t just be about the fintech industry.

KPMG suggests it’s possible that credit unions and fintechs are partners rather than competitors, adding that working together would give credit unions a strategic advantage in the innovation space. According to the 2019 Global FinTech Adoption Index compiled by Ernst & Young, 64% of the world’s population uses fintech apps, four times the percentage reported four years earlier.

There are therefore opportunities for the Caribbean model of credit unions to be adapted for use in Africa and for African fintechs to help credit unions in both regions take the movement to the next level. Through fintech partnerships, credit unions can provide their members with advanced technology and innovative payment solutions that would rival the traditional banking industry.

ACTIF2022 is taking place in Bridgetown, Barbados from September 1-3, 2022. Visit for more information on this dynamic forum. (PR)

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Melvin B. Baillie