Francophone African cooperative leaders exchange knowledge and experience with Japanese co-operators

The 9th edition of the ILO/Japanese Consumers’ Cooperative Union (JCCU) African Cooperative Leaders’ Study Tour took place in Japan from 15-24 October 2018.

News | 29 October 2018
Participants visiting an agricultural cooperative JA Hadano
The annual study tour was initiated in 2010 as a part of activities under the CoopAfrica programme, an ILO development cooperation initiative on cooperative development in nine countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. The study tour aims to support human resources development among African cooperative leaders through exploring the diverse businesses and the strong membership-based management of Japanese cooperatives. This activity also promotes exchange of learning between cooperatives demonstrating a practical application of the 6th cooperative principle: “cooperation among cooperatives”. From 2010 to 2017, eight study tours have been organized with total of 35 senior cooperative leaders and practitioners from 13 African countries.

Participants visiting the University of Tokyo Co-op
For the first time since its inception, this year’s edition was exclusively dedicated to Francophone African countries. Cooperative representatives from Côte d'Ivoire, Tunisia, and Cameroon participated in the study tour to gain first hand exposure to Japanese cooperatives’ activities across a range of sectors (e.g. agriculture, renewable energy, retail, recycling, health care, child care, elderly care, insurance and banking) and exchange knowledge and experience with Japanese co-operators. The detailed programme is available here.

Participants visiting a recycling facility of a consumer cooperative Co-op Deli

At the end of the study tour, ILO Tokyo and Japan Cooperative Alliance (JCA) co-organized a public seminar which brought together over 50 participants including officials of the embassies of Côte d'Ivoire, Tunisia, and Cameroon.

Following the opening remarks by JCCU President Mr Eiichi HONDA, ILO Cooperatives Unit Specialist Mr Guy TCHAMI addressed reflections on the study tour through a video message. He expressed gratitude for the partners who made this edition on Francophone countries possible and highlighted how the collaboration between the ILO and Japanese cooperative movement evolved through the study tour, including a recent coop-to-coop trade meeting in Geneva and a staff exchange programme between the ILO and JCCU. He also noted the ILO’s interest and readiness to mark the 10th anniversary of the study tour in 2019 through an event organized in partnership with Japanese cooperative movement.

The three study tour participants then presented the cooperative movement in each of their countries, experiences of their cooperative organizations, and the challenges and opportunities they face. Their presentations in French are available here:

Participants of the study tour with representatives from the embassies, ILO Tokyo, JCA and JCCU