Chamas (informal investment groups) are an African phenomenon with a history that can be traced way back. There have become really common and come about where individuals come together to form groups with a social and commercial agenda. Unfortunately most of these chamas have a very short lifespan and do not live up to the expectations of founding members.
According to Tony Wainaina, chamas as an investment group phenomenon is a sleeping giant with far greater potential for economic growth. I had the privilege to read a copy of his new book “Chama to Conglomerate” that gives advice and step by step directions on how to turn your informal chama to a registered wealth creating investment group. Thanks to his experience working with investment holding companies that began as a collection of individual pooling their money to save and invest as a group he is able valuable insight and wisdom as to how individuals at any income level can achieve a transformation of their chama.
The book begins by explaining the value of working and investing in a group and the power of compounding. It then goes on to explain the steps in establishing, forming and structuring your investment group. I especially like how he gives steps one by one from finding members to finally launching the investment group, together with examples on how some people failed in starting their investment group and how to learn from their failure.
The use of Trans- Century Limited, recognised as the most successful investment group in East and Central Africa, as a role model for aspiring investment groups is given in detail, together with lessons to be learnt from their success. There are a few more chapters as well on management and administration that highlight in detail the do’s to make a successful investment group.
I would recommend the book as a guide for individual who want to start their own investment group and also think it could be used to guide and advice people (especially in the lower class) who benefit from the use of chamas on the importance and steps to formalising their chamas.
Chama to Conglomerate is available at Text Book Centre, Bookpoint Moi Avenue and on Amazon.