National Association of Cooperative Credit Unions of The Gambia (NACCUG), the apex body for all credit unions in The Gambia, was formed in August 1991, following the establishment of the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP), in 1985.
Formerly, Credit Unions were under the umbrella of the defunct Gambia Co-operative Union (GCU) and were known as Thrift and Credit Co-operatives (TCC’s). These TCC’s had little or no supervision from the GCU, which concentrated more on agriculture and marketing. This led to their inability 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-operation. 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 of this country if members were properly trained.
The Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) 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 focusing on institutional development of co-operative credit unions to mobilise savings so as to provide credit 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.