The Ghana Cooperative Susu Collectors Association (GCSCA), the apex body for Susu Operators and Unions in the country, has held its Regional Stakeholders’ Conference at GNAT Hall in Tamale.
Themed; “Digitization as a secure and effective approach to Susu operators in Ghana”, the conference coincided with the association’s 25th Anniversary year. It was targeted at enlightening stakeholders to embrace the digitization agenda and strengthen Susu collectors to survive in the technological world.
It attracted stakeholders, directors and officials of GCSCA, Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network (GHAMFIN), German Development Corporation (GIZ), Oxford Policy Management, and Bank of Ghana among others. The conference commenced with an opening address by the President of GCSCA, Mr Emmanuel K. Amankwah. In his discourse, he cited that digitization is essential in bridging the gap between rural and urban areas with reference to Susu operations in Ghana.
“Digitization has a lot to offer susu collectors and our clients and in the not so distant future, it could help make especially rural and peri-urban areas more attractive places to live and work” he emphasized.
Mr. Amankwah was delighted to announce that the “Oxford Policy Management (OPM) in partnership with MasterCard Foundation has launched the Savings at the Frontier (SatF) project” which seeks to support GCSCA to digitize its operations.
The Executive Director of Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network (GHAMFIN), Mr Yaw Gyamfi urged Susu operators to engage digitization in their routine operations in order not to become obsolete.
He stressed on the influence of mobile money and how it is fast growing. He further stated that digitization would enhance their operations by making it easier, faster and convenient and also open them up to new customers, new distribution models and save cost. He cautioned that, “susu operators have no option than to enhance technology”.
Most participants, however bemoaned the cost involved in engaging in the digitization project, high illiteracy rate amongst customers and the inability for Susu operators to deduct their profit if customers do not contribute up to the maximum thirty one days when operators use the mobile application. These issues were raised during an open forum at the conference.
In light of the issues raised, Mr Gyamfi indicated that digitization is a gradual process and requires constant education of both operators and their clients.
The conference ended with photo shoots of the directors of GCSCA, GIZ, GHAMFIN, BOG and OPM/PSD.
Since the conference is being held in the association’s 25th year of existence, GCSCA continued the day with the unveiling the proposed theme for the anniversary celebration. The theme is “25 years of existence: Consolidating the gains through digitization and its transformation of Susu business”.
Mr Yaw Gyamfi, the chairman for the event, urged the members of the association to reflect on their actions and find innovative ways to enhance their operations. He argued that there is always an opportunity for Susu amid the emergence of ATM and mobile money. He further encouraged operators to embrace the digital change to put their businesses on a competitive edge.
The chairman for the event then officially launch GCSCA’s 25th Anniversary logo.