ICA, PAP aim for a Model Law on Cooperatives

The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) have sealed an agreement to formulate a Model of Law on Cooperatives in Africa.

The benefits and key elements of the Model Law were presented to the PAP Permanent Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs by Dr. Sifa CHINGOYE, Regional Director of the ICA during the March Sittings of the Permanents.

Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. James Reat GONY said “the legal text is not a pre-conceived idea of what the law for Africa should be, hence it will be thoroughly debated and crystalized into a novel law for the continent in the 21st century.”

Some of the problems faced by cooperatives include poor management, inadequate training, the free-rider problem and a lack of communication among participants. However, cooperative societies have reportedly performed a critical role in the fight against poverty by providing opportunities to create wealth through trade and the development of agriculture across the African continent.

In full support of the move, Hon. Stewart MADZAYO from Kenya called on Legislators to approach the subject of Cooperatives with the highest dedication in view of the many livelihoods dependent on it. “With what is happening in my country in this regard, I would urge my fellow Parliamentarians to take this matter seriously. In Kenya, Cooperatives are a source of income to many and it is my wish that it be modelled well so that it can be adopted by the rest of the continent,” he said.

According to the Society for International Development, in Kenya, cooperatives are responsible for 45% of the GDP and 31% of national savings and deposits.

Hon. Prof Geoffrey LUNGWANGWA from Zambia believes the proposed legal text is an indicative beginning. “Due to its comparative advantage, it should attract the involvement of movements from over 100 countries,” he said.

The ICA Regional Director emphasized on the need for the continental Parliament to consider mechanisms to check tendencies of flouting cooperative principles by nations. Results of the PAP-ICA Alliance will also be shared during the 33rd World Cooperative Congress in Seoul, South Korea from 11-17 December 2020.