Working Paper No. 7 - Cooperatives in Africa : the age of reconstruction : synthesis of a survey in nine African countries

CoopAFRICA Working Paper No. 7 - Series on the status of cooperative development in Africa

This paper aggregates the findings from nine country studies and from recent literature upon African cooperatives. The presence of cooperatives and people covered by them was found to be significant, though erratically documented. The current growth of the movement is largely driven by expansion of Savings and Credit Cooperatives. However, building and maintaining a movement’s structure presents a challenge. Federations often struggle with legitimacy and operate at a mere subsistence level. Cooperative colleges do not sufficiently cater for members and staff of primary cooperatives. The extent to which governments pursue a policy of actively creating an enabling environment for cooperatives proves to be the key factor in reconstructing the cooperative movements. The paper further discusses the significance of cooperatives for other policy domains and the position of cooperatives as a vehicle for development.