Working Paper No. 16 - Bearing the brunt of a liberalized economy : a performance review of the cooperative movement in Zambia

CoopAFRICA Working Paper No. 16 - Series on the status of cooperative development in Africa

Currently the contribution of the Zambian cooperative movement to the country’s socio-economic development does not appear to be significant. The cooperative movement is generally weak in its income base and organizational structures. Many cooperatives are either defunct or non-performing. It has been observed that some cooperatives have been formed for the sole purpose of taking advantage of government support programmes. The “collapsing” of the cooperative movement in Zambia can be attributed to lack for planning for policy transition on behalf of the government as well as a manifestation of fragile cooperative institutions, whose internal organization was not robust enough to withstand the liberalization reforms. The continuing inertia exhibited by most cooperatives constitutes a serious threat to the development of an autonomous cooperative movement. Of paramount importance is the need for the cooperatives themselves to appreciate the meaning and objectives of the cooperative model of enterprise.