Monday, 8 March 2010

Africa in the spotlight

World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) 2010 is fast approaching! In the lead up to the day, Consumers International (CI) has produced Our money, our rights: The evolution of financial services in Africa.

Providing a fascinating insight into this sector in an African context, this briefing dispels myths, examines a number of interesting new developments and ponders the future of financial services provision to African consumers. Download the pdf to learn more.

CI member organisations across the continent work tirelessly in defence of consumers, whether in relation to financial services or countless other areas. Many are now busy preparing to highlight WCRD on or around 15 March 2010. Below are some inspiring examples of member action around this year's theme: Our money, our rights!

  • Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) is organising a multi-stakeholder symposium with representatives from industry and government, as well as a public procession through Harare and a competition featuring specially prepared WCRD t-shirts as prizes.
  • Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) is holding a seminar with students who will complete a survey on their understanding of financial services. TCAS is also preparing articles for national newspapers to highlight the day and are organising a street rally in Dar Es Salaam.
  • Insitute for Consumer Protection (ICP), Mauritius, is calling on the Minister of Finance to establish a Banking Ombudsman. The public will be rallied through a series of features and interviews on national radio networks, and leaflets will be distributed through regional consumer advice centres.
  • Zambian Consumer Association (ZACA) has set up a WCRD preparatory committee including representatives from government, industry and civil society. Activities are likely to include public marches, radio and TV programmes and producing WCRD-themed calendars.
  • Youth Education Network (YEN), Kenya, will pitch an 'educational tent', which will act as a forum in which consumers can interact with financial services providers. Farmers from rural areas will be targed in particular.
  • National Consumer Forum (NCF), South Africa, will be holding their annual two-day conference, which will be attended by CI staff based in the country.
  • Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Nigeria, is holding a WCRD 'consumer enlightenment' event from 15 to 21 March and are producing special brochures advising consumers on financial services.
  • Ethiopian Consumer Protection Association (ECOPA) are holding a panel discussion where they will present new research highlighting problems in the financial services sector. WCRD banners will be present on major streets in Addis Ababa, and the day will also be promoted on national radio.
  • Réseau Associatif des Consommateurs de l'Energie (RACE), Cameroon, will be launching 'Cameroon Consumer Week' from 9 to 12 March and will be meeting representatives from industry and the Ministry of Trade. On 15 March a press conference will be held around the theme of 'The True Face of Microfinance in Cameroon'.

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