Case study

MAIN Seminar Theme No. 1 - Acting for Sustainability, For Whom? Covering the Costs of Products and Services

Successful credit unions of Benin
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This paper is a case study presented in the workshop on the levers of financial sustainability. It describes the success of the credit unions setup by Centre Baninois pour le Developpement des Initiatives Base (CBDIBA) a non-governmental organization working in Benin.

The paper highlights:

  • The SECA savings policy;
  • The SECA credit policy;
  • Evolution of the credit union system and its impact;
  • Creation of the self-managed village banks (CAVECAs).

The paper also discusses the difficulties faced by the system and its possible solutions. These include:

  • Illiteracy of the members;
  • Insufficient savings for covering the credit needs of members;
  • Non-compliance with loan requirements by the members of the credit committee.

The paper presents potential solutions:

  • Reinforce regular monitoring, support and control and continuous training, for members and officials;
  • Intensify literacy and post-literacy courses for the members by concentrating on compatibility and management;
  • Establish lines of credit to refinance the system with a view to meeting credit needs.

The paper concludes that any rural population, however economically frail and illiterate, can mobilize resources and manage them independently in order to solve their financial problems. The key is that the population should be organized and well-trained.

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