Saturday, July 9, 2011

OSUSU, A Traditional Way Of Saving In Africa

Growing up, I knew it as tontine - the adapted french word or parri  a local word for this age old practice on the African continent. A friend told me it  was called Osusu in Nigeria. I immediately liked how the word sounded, hence the title of this post.

For generations, women in Africa have assembled in clubs - small or large - once a week, once every two weeks or once a month. It's an opportunity to socialize over good food and music, more importantly to collect contributions for members.

The contribution amounts are set and equal for everyone. They are generally nominal - 500, 1000, 2000 CFA - amounts reflecting the financial means of the women in the club, roughly 1 to 4 US dollars. They can be much substantial for women of more capable means. Some clubs collect wax print fabric instead. All the collection for one meeting is remitted to the person in line on a predetermined order tracked by the administrator and president.

Parri, as I've known it since childhoold, is a traditional mean of saving for African women. Women use the monies or fabrics collected to begin businesses, clothe their children and themselves, and save for the future of their families. Nowadays, the system has expanded to include some men clubs and has developped in big business in many African countries.

If you have knowledge of such associations in other countries, I'd like to hear from you. Please, share they appelation you have for it and how it works. Our world is amazing. It's always a joy to hear about the way other cultures live their daily lives.


  1. great job ya doing here. keep it up;;..

  2. I'm curious to know more about this OSUSU.

    BTW, I landed here from Google.

  3. We have developed osusu software that enables osusu businesses to manage run their operations effectively.

    You can reach me at