African Writers Library Tour
September 26, 2020
Akwaaba Brunch
October 1, 2021


SUSU – An Ancient traditional banking system, dating back to 16th century in West Africa to this present day. A practical cost-effective way of saving and a great startup capital for SME business development.

The word SUSU or sou-sou is said to have come from the Yoruba word esusu and travelled via the African Diaspora to Caribbean and Europe.

Jamaica = partner/pardner
Haitians = min
Bahamas = Esu
Tobago = Susu
Trinidad = Sou
Guyana = box hand
Barbados = meeting
Suriname = Kasmoni

SUSU – Method
Previously house to house collection system, where money is collected in a SUSU box, weekly monthly or daily, mainly from street traders, market traders, farmers, artisans, etc.
In a Susu group, every member periodically contributes an agreed amount into a virtual pot in trust of a selected member acting as the banker. At an agreed interval members collect the total savings from the pot, minus the banker admin fees.

(SUSU Box)

SUSU Association
I did not realise how popular this banking system was in West Africa until I resided in Ghana. Seeing the word SUSU on kiosks and collectors in the local market with their deposit books. There is even the Ghana Cooperative SUSU collectors Association. Collector issues membership cards to recall deposits and withdrawals. Or – Members can deposit savings to a delegated kiosk or from a Collector on his rounds to record deposits and withdrawals.

SUSU – womens group
I joined 14 women as part of a SUSU group in Ghana 7 months. I was happy to receive my ‘hand’ (draw of money) in November. The money is for rainy days & occasional self-love treats.

SUSU – book
The book Susu and Susunomics (Paul Alfred Barton) states how communities such as refugees from World War II Europe and Afro-Caribbean people have used susu and economic nationalism to build up collective and individual wealth through unity, cooperation and the pooling of their resources.

Something that specifically started for low income traders based on what they could afford has now transpired to anyone who just wants to make a saving outside modern banking.

Have you drawn SUSU?
What is it called in your country?

bless Sister E (Naa Dzamah)

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