The role of cooperative societies in rural finance: Evidence from Ogun State, Nigeria
The study assess the roles played by cooperative societies’ savings and loans services on members’ economic condition, standard of living and in meeting participants financial needs in rural locations where there is no bank nor other formal financial providers. Using a combination of interview, focus group discussion and questionnaire techniques, the study covers the activities of cooperative societies located in rural communities and villages outside the state capital and local government headquarters where there is no electricity, water and tarred road in Ogun State, Nigeria. From its findings, this study identified and discussed potential areas for the improvement of cooperative societies that could be of benefit to rural finance providers and the cooperative members. The study is the first empirical investigation in Nigeria that focuses on the relevance of cooperative societies on members’ standard of living in rural communities and villages. The study shed light on how rural communities function – how their relationships develop, how individual esteem is increased, how interdependence grows, how hierarchies are maintained – and how this is facilitated in part by the loan-making of members promoted cooperatives. It has also provided more evidence on the importance of land ownership, and how this is enhanced when rural communities have access to cheap and affordable loans. It has also provided insights into the development of rural businesses, how complex they are, and how they require more input than the financing received through cooperative loans. The study breaks new ground in informal cooperative functioning, community development and rural finance research by providing a distinction between standard of living and quality of life variables in measuring the economic condition of rural dwellers, and the production of circle of social capital theory that the role of cooperatives to the members involve financial capital, physical capital and social capital which are interrelated. This helps to appropriately identify the roles of cooperative societies in rural finance to increase in household income, ownership of household assets and acquisition of enterprise assets. However, participation in the cooperative does not lead to enterprise profitability, while rural financial needs are more accessible from cooperatives than other sources.
- PhD