The work of a Susu collector in Accra

Low income earners in Ghana, such as traders, make daily savings of their income with certain individuals in trust. Their daily deposits depends on how much they can afford, but should be consistent for, at least, a month before withdrawal. This daily money saving is called SUSU in Ghana. Under this scheme, clients do not earn any interest on their deposits, neither can they access loans.

Instead of earning interest, they lose a day’s deposit to the collector for his services. To make the transaction transparent, the collector gives out a membership card to each client in which each deposit is recorded. They make the deposit either in his kiosk or during his rounds to their selling places. The risky aspect of the deal is that there are normally no legal restriction on the collector giving him a leaway to bolt with the deposit as and when he wishes.

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SUSU Collectors are common in Ghana, specially Accra, the capital. Their bill boards are scattered in the city.

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These SUSU Collectors sometimes wait for their clients in their small offices with their membership cards and are always ready to transact business.

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The clients prefer making daily savings with Susu Collectors to operating bank accounts because the scheme is  considered more friendly and accessible to them, compared to banks which are fraught with bureaucracies. However, deposits at the bank are always secured.

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The Susu Collector sometimes goes round selling points of clients who could not go to him in the office. This encourages the traders to save part of their earnings towards expansion of the businesses.

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The clients trade in many different wares whose sale pattern is unpredictable.This situation is what normally prompts them to make the daily savings.

Nicholas Osei-Wusu

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