Chapter II - Coops and Technical Assistance among Developing Countries

   This document has been made available in electronic format
          by the Committee for the Promotion and 
               Advancement of Cooperatives

Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts on South-South Cooperation
                 31 July - 4 August 1995

                  SOUTH - SOUTH COOPERATION
                   OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR

    Background paper prepared by the United Nations Department 
       for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development
                     New York, July 1995


Technical assistance provided within the international
cooperative movement by the North to the South is very
considerable.  In the North, almost all Governments of the OECD
countries provide funding to cooperative development agencies -
specialist institutions within the national cooperative movements
of those countries - for use in support of cooperative
development in the South.  In 1994 such agencies in Australia,
Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan,
Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the
United States combined public funding with funds within the
national cooperative movement itself. 

In 1994, the ICA, through its regional offices, worked with 27
development partners, which comprised the specialist cooperative
development agencies, international development divisions of some
individual cooperative groups and enterprises, as well as the
Governments of Australia, Finland, Germany, and Japan, to assist
cooperative movements in the South.

The World Council of Credit Unions WOCCU, using funds from its
members in the North, as well as from USAID, the World Bank and
the Inter-American Bank, also assists savings and credit
cooperative development in the South.  Similarly, the
International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation
(ICMIF), which represents cooperative insurance enterprises,
provides technical assistance through its regional associations
to members and prospective members.  The International
Cooperative Banking Association (ICBA) also coordinates
assistance to member organizations in the South. 

The International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP),
one quarter of whose national members are national level
agricultural cooperative organizations including those in Burkina
Faso, Cameroon, Taiwan province of China, Egypt, Senegal as well
as the national apex cooperative organizations in Gambia,
Nigeria, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, provides support
through its farmers' organizations development programme funded
during 1990-92 by the general development agencies in Canada,
Denmark, Finland and Norway and by the Swedish cooperative
development agency.

A significant proportion of the technical assistance projects
forming part of the this North-South programme operate through
ICA regional offices, through regional cooperative organizations,
and through the regional programmes of a number of cooperatives
training and research institutions in countries of the South and
with the collaboration of cooperative movements in other
countries of the South: that is are the "triangular" type.

In addition to this type of North-South technical assistance,
there is a still small but growing purely South-South programme.


Some collaboration between cooperative movements in the South and
UNDP's TCDC programmes has taken place in the past.  The most
comprehensive interaction comprises bilateral discussions held
at New Delhi in may 1990 on an ICA/UNDP (TCDC) Regional
Programming Among Cooperatives in Asia.   A considerable number
of project proposals were agreed upon.  No other meeting took
place in other region, nor since 1990.  No collaboration is known
to have occurred between UNCTAD's programmes and the
international cooperative movement. 


The Third Asia-Pacific Cooperative Minister's Conference held in
July, 1994 recommended that ICA's Regional Office for Asia and
the Pacific, together with cooperative development agencies in
the North, should develop a partnership with the Asian
Development Bank in order to co-finance cooperative technical


The national legislative environment is of fundamental
significance to cooperative development, particularly in the many
countries of the South where until recently at least,
cooperatives were perceived by the Government to be an extension
of, or even a part of, the parastatal sector.  In all but a few
countries of the South, a very substantial change has occurred
as part of the general process of privatization and
liberalization.  Cooperative business enterprises are now
acknowledged to be entirely autonomous forms of organization,
which nevertheless, in the context of most countries, have such
special characteristics and value for sustainable development
that entirely new legislation is required.

However, help has been needed in the revision, sometimes the
complete rewriting of such legislation.  Regional offices of the
ICA have provided technical assistance in the development of such
new legislation: for example in December 1992, a consultancy was
carried out in Vietnam by the ICA Regional Office for Asia and
the Pacific.  ICA regional offices have also collaborated with
and supported the technical assistance programmes of the ILO,
FAO, and ICA in this area.


One of the basic principles of cooperative organization is the
paramount need for the education and training of members, not
only in the direction and management of cooperative enterprises,
but in the areas of literacy, numeracy, and other aspects of
basic education required for the efficient operation of the
enterprise and for the self-development of members and their

Combined with the principle that cooperative should help other
cooperatives wherever practical, there is within the global
cooperative movement a very substantial exchange of information
and experience designed to improve the quality of human
resources.  This has been formulated by the ICA within a
comprehensive human resource development programme. 

While the greater proportion of activities involve the provision
of assistance by individual cooperatives, specialized cooperative
institutions and national cooperative movements in the developed
market economies to those in the South, there is a considerable
element of South-South technical assistance.

It is noteworthy that, although in many cases financial
assistance is provided to cooperative movements and enterprises
in the South by cooperative development institutions in the
North, this is channelled through ICA regional offices and other
regional and sub-regional cooperative organizations in the South.

The regional offices of the ICA are major actors in the promotion
of South-South cooperation in this area.  The diversity of
technical assistance programmes provided by them can be
illustrated by a listing of those organized by the ICA regional
Office for Asia and the Pacific during 1992.  In September
members from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka,
and Thailand met at the Vaikunth Mehta Institute of Cooperative
Management in Pune, India, to discuss the operation of a network
of cooperative HRD institutions in the region.  In May and June
a training programme and study tour was organized, with financial
assistance from the Swedish Cooperative Centre, for employees of
the Central Council of Supply and Marking Cooperatives of Vietnam
in Hanoi, and of the Saigon Trading Cooperatives in Ho Chi Ming
City in order to improve communication skills in English and
familiarize them with cooperative movements in India and
Thailand.  In November, training in the operation of cooperative
supermarkets was provided by the Singapore National Cooperative
Federation Ltd. for participants from Malaysia, Thailand and Sri
Lanka.  During 1992 training in consumer, transport and insurance
cooperatives was provided by the Federation to cooperative staff
from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

The ICA regional office promoted a networking project in human
resource development between cooperative institutions in the
regional in order to make best use of different specializations,
resources and experiences.  This came into operation in 1993.

The various specialized bodies of the ICA also promote human
resource development.  For example, the International Cooperative
Fisheries Organization organizes two seminars a year on human
resource development in fisheries cooperatives, with support from
the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (90
percent of Japanese fisheries production if from cooperatives). 
In 1992 these seminar were held in Fiji and Vietnam.

Complementing the regional level programmes organized by the
regional offices were separate intra-regional programmes
organized bilaterally by national cooperative organizations
within the region (there are no examples as yet of inter-regional
programmes in the South).  For example, early in 1993 the
Philippine National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO)
organized a six-week training course for Vietnamese cooperative
personnel in basic cooperative organization and business
procedures.  Funding was provided by the Canadian Cooperative
Association and the Societe de Developpement International

Numerous other forms of South-South cooperation in training
exist, although in many cases financed by cooperative
organizations in the North.  For example, during 1991, a series
of seminars for accountants in artisanal and other worker
cooperatives was held in western African countries, financed by
the French General Confederation of Production Cooperative

ICA, through its regional offices, works very closely with the
ILO's Human Resource Development for Cooperative Management and
Networking Interregional Programme (COOPNET)


As part of its general cooperative development programme, and
also as part of its programme of human resource development, ICA
has promoted cooperative business enterprises among indigenous
peoples, in some cases working closely with ILO's INDISCO
Programme to support Self-reliance of Indigenous and Tribal
Communities through Cooperatives and other Self-Help
Organizations, begun as part of the ILO/DANIDA programme for
cooperative development in rural areas in 1993.  The Programme
will be implemented in Asia, Africa, and Central America.  It
will benefit from intra-regional and inter-regional exchanges of

In December 1993, the ICA Regional Office for Central America and
the Caribbean, as part of its human rights programme, organized
a seminar for indigenous cooperatives in Quetzaltenango,
Guatemala, hosted by the Guatemalan Confederation of Cooperative
Federations and the Guatemalan Federation of Consumers'
Cooperatives.  It was attended by 57 participants, almost all of
whom were representatives of cooperatives formed by indigenous
peoples in Central America, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.


ICA gives high priority to the advancement of women within the
cooperative movement: which implies larger numbers of women
becoming member of cooperatives, preferably those with mixed
membership, but in certain circumstances women only cooperatives. 
All ICA regional offices have been active participants in the
regional meetings preparatory for the Fourth World Conference on
Women to be held in Beijing, China in September 1995.

In Asia and the Pacific, the ICA regional office operates a
programme in gender development in cooperatives, with support
from cooperative development agencies in Sweden, Canada and
Japan.  In April and May 19923, a consultation was held in Sri
Lanka, with participants from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran,
Philippines, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and
Thailand, as well as from Japan and with representatives of UN
agencies.  The consultation laid down initial strategies for
gender planning in cooperatives.  Arising from this consultation,
a Regional Gender Planning Conference was held in March, 1993,
with the purpose of seeking more effective methods and strategies
for enabling women to have equal opportunities to participate
actively at all level in cooperative business enterprises.

Women cooperative member in ASEAN countries have formed their own
organization: probably the first in any sub-regional organization
-the ASEAN Women in Development Cooperative Forum.

In Central America and the Caribbean in November 1991 about 400
women representatives from cooperatives in these sub-regions met
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to discuss national and regional
programmes to promote improved integration of women into
cooperative organization, agreeing upon future priorities and
guidelines for the ICA regional programme on Women's Integration,
which was to be supported by the Royal Norwegian Society for
Rural Development (which is the cooperative development agency
in that country).

During 1994, the ICA Regional Office for Central America and the
Caribbean, with funding from the Swedish Cooperative Centre
introduced a set of audio cassettes designed to promote women's
esteem and their more effective participation in the management
and direction of cooperatives.  These were based upon experiences
gathered form all members countries, and had been tested in two

In Africa, the ICA Regional Office for West Africa organized a
joint seminar with the FAO regional Office early in 1994 to
examine strategies for increasing the participation of women in

The global savings and credit cooperative movement is also active
in the advancement of women in credit unions.  In July  1994, the
first Global Women and Credit Union Symposium was held at Cork,
Ireland, with participants form all regions of the South, as well
as North.  Immediately afterwards a Women in Development Task
Force was created as a distinct programme of WOCCU's Operations
Department.  Although a global event and programme, both serve
to bring together views from different region of the South, as
well as an opportunity for collaboration between national credit
union movement in the South, within the context of global


A substantial element of the South-South technical cooperation
undertaken by the regional offices of the ICA concerns the
operation and technical aspects of the activities of cooperative
business enterprises.  For example, in the Asia and Pacific
region of the ICA in 1992 alone there were organized a number of
regional seminars and symposia:

(a)  In June a Regional Seminar on Agro-Processing was organized
     by the ICA's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and
     the All China federation of Supply and Marketing
     Cooperatives, with participants from India, Indonesia,
     Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Korea,
     Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. 

(b)  A regional seminar on integrated cooperative development
     through agro-processing organized by the ICA Regional
     Office Asia and the Pacific, the Vaikunth Mehta National
     Institute of Cooperative Management in Pune and the
     Government of India in collaboration with the National
     Cooperative Development Corporation and the centre for
     International Cooperation and Training in Agricultural
     Banking in April 1992, with participants form China, Iran,
     malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

(c)  A regional seminar on agricultural cooperative business
     development with special reference to the Korean experience
     was held at the Agricultural Cooperative College of the
     Korean National Agricultural Cooperative Federation in
     Seoul in October 1992, with participants from China, India,
     Indonesia, Malaysia, pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and
     Vietnam, and also from Australia.  The seminar was
     organized jointly by the ICA Regional Office and the
     International Cooperation Department of the Federation.  A
     second seminar was to be organized in 1993. 

(d)  A regional seminar on University Cooperatives (essentially
     a special type of consumer-owned service and retail
     cooperative owned by students for the purpose of supplying
     them with goods and services) was held in January in
     Indonesia.  It was attended by participants from Malaysia,
     Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.


Another area of priority within technical assistance programmes
organized by ICA regional offices is that of improving the
management of cooperative business enterprises.  Given the
dimensions of the cooperative movement in the South, and its
broad potential for expansion, the goal of ensuring viability in
the market, productively and efficiency is an important one,
contributing significantly in itself to development of these
economies and societies. 

An international symposia on the management of rural
cooperatives, held at the Institute of Rural Management in Anand,
Gujarat, India, in December 1992 was attended by specialists from
Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, pakistan, the republic
of Korea, and Sri Lanka, as well as from Japan, Sweden, the
United Kingdom, the United States and ILO.

The ICA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific recently
undertook a study of cooperative management and made
recommendations for an increased effectiveness, taking into
consideration the nature of the societal context in which
cooperatives operated in the region. 

The ICA Regional Office for East, Central and Southern Africa
developed and tested methods of strategic planning as a
management tool for cooperative enterprises in the late 1980s,
then held regional seminar for chief executives and head of
planning departments.  Based on their conclusions, the regional
office organized national programmes in each of the members
countries in turn, beginning in 1990 in Swaziland and Zambia.


In April 1992, for example, the ICA Regional Office for Asia and
the Pacific coordinated a programme of visits of specialists
sponsored by the Cooperative Union of the Philippines, Inc. to
study cooperative sugar and spinning mills in India. 

The National Cooperative Union of India, through its National
Council for Cooperative Training, provided training to foreign


ICA regional offices maintain library and date base services for
national members and publish information bulletins and newsletter
concerning regional activities and development.

Other specialized cooperative training, research and development
institutions play an important role in the diffusion of
information on cooperative development within the South.  For
example, the Higher Institute of Managerial Studies at Cairo,
Egypt, regularly translated into Arabic information on
cooperatives elsewhere and distributes this to cooperative
enterprises in Arab speaking countries. 


The Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (which supplies 25
percent of fertilizers used in the country) has put up a
fertilizer manufacturing plan in Senegal, and in May 1994 was
exploring the possibility of providing similar assistance to the
Iranian rural cooperative movement. 


South-South technical cooperation within the international
cooperative movement has recently incorporated a number of
special emphases. That on the environment and sustainable
development is an example.

During 1991 and 1992, he ICA Regional Office for Asia and the
Pacific, with financial support from the Canadian Cooperative
Association (CCA), carried out a regional study on the
relationship between cooperative business enterprises and the
environment, and their actual and potential contribution to
sustainable development.  National consultants prepared situation
papers discussed at a regional workshop held at Jakarta,
Indonesia in April 1992.  A report was published in July 1992.

This regional project enhanced the capability of the Office to
present the experience of the region in global fora: for example,
in the International Environment Workshop organized by the ICA
Consumer Committee, the International Organization for Consumer
Cooperative Distributive Trade (Inter-Coop), and the Japanese
Consumers' Cooperative Unions (JCCU) in May 1992, as well as in
other global level meetings on cooperatives and the environment.

Following an ICA regional Workshop on Waste Resource Recycling
held in April 1991 in Shanghai, China a mission from the Shanghai
Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives visited the
Cooperative League of Thailand and the Cooperative Union of the
Philippines in January 1992 to carry out a feasibility study on
waste recycling.  In June 1992 a return delegation visited
Shanghai.  Subsequently, a Memorandum of Agreement on waste
rubber recycling was signed between the Shanghai Federation and
the Davao Fiber Producers Cooperative in Mindanao.


The levels of technical cooperation provided within the
cooperative financial sector is very considerable, and, because
of its specific nature, may serve as an illustration of the
actual and particularly the potential importance of the
contribution which cooperatives are able to make to South-South
technical cooperation.

     (1)  Savings and credit cooperatives ("credit unions")

The regional association of saving and credit cooperative
("credit unions") assist their national members with strategic
planning, and managerial and operational training, frequently
with financial and technical held from national credit unions in
the North, and from the World Council of Credit Union (WOCCU). 
Regional strategic plans for the Caribbean and for Africa stress
improvement in credit and collection policies, updating
legislation and regulations and providing professional leadership
and management training. 

The South Pacific Forum on Credit Union Development sponsored by
the Australian Foundation for International Credit Union
Development held regional meeting of credit union leaders in
December 1992 and February 1994.  One of its functions has been
to development procedures for coordinating assistance received
from the North (principally from the Hanns Seidel Foundation in
Germany and the Australian Foundation) and the World Council. 

Savings and credit cooperatives have recently begun to be
established in China (the first two were formed in May 1992:
there were nine in May 1994).  Both the regional and global
organizations have been interested to provide assistance.  In
March 1994, a coordination meeting in which WOCCU and the
Canadian Cooperative Association participated, was held in Hong
Kong to avoid overlapping efforts.

In October 1992, representative of Latin American savings and
credit cooperatives met in Panama at a "Latin American Financial
Cooperative Convention" sponsored by the Latin American
Confederation of Credit Unions.  They discussed strategies to
deal with changing financial markets, to become more competitive
in the marketplace, and deal with changing international
financial markets and global economic restructuring. 

National Savings and credit cooperative organizations have
established regional and sub-regional organization in all parts
of the South.  Their functions include representation, within the
global credit union movement and the wider cooperative movement
as well as with Governments and intergovernmental organizations,
provision of common services and technical assistance in
management and operations. 

This at the end of 1992, the national savings and credit movement
in 28 African States had set up the regional organizations -
African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit
Associations (ACCOSCA); those in 13 Asian and Pacific States had
set up the Association of the Asian Confederation of Credit
Unions (ACCU); national organizations in 19 Caribbean States and
territories gad established the Caribbean Confederation of Credit
Unions (CCCU); and organization s in 18 States in Central and
South America had set up the Latin American Confederation of
Credit Unions (Confederacion Latinoamericana de Cooperativas de
Ahorro y Credito - COLAC).

The technical assistance provided by these regional organizations
to their national members is supplemented by the global
representative organization - the World Council of Credit Unions
(WOCCU), whose headquarters are in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, which
worked with the regional organizations to support both regional
and national programmes and projects.  While having its own
substantial technical resources, WOCCU is supported financially
by its national credit union members in the North, by general
cooperative development agencies in the North, by governmental
development agencies, notably those in the United States, Canada,
and the Nordic countries and by the World Bank and the Inter-
American Development Bank.

While a considerable proportion of these technical assistance
activities are directed toward the national credit union
movements in specific countries, there are many sub-regional and
regional activities which include an element of South-South
cooperation, if only in the exchange of information and
experience, and joint consultations on the development of region-
wide common programmes.

For example, in March 1993, about 250 persons from various Latin
American and Caribbean countries participated in a conference
held in Guatemala on increasing the effectiveness of credit
unions in rural areas.  The Guatemalan Federation had introduced
reforms in savings policies: many participants expressed their
intention to duplicate these in their own national movement.  The
Conference was hosted by the Guatemalan National Federation of
Credit Unions and USAID, and co-sponsored by the World Council
of Credit Unions and Ohio State University. 

In November 1994, 30 credit union leaders form nine Southern
African countries met in Swaziland to discuss the introduction
of a planning module - "Plan Africa 2000" - for the strengthening
of national credit union movements.  Sponsored by the Canadian
Cooperative Association, with participation by specialists from
the World Council of Credit Unions, it was concluded that
participating national system would begin to implement their
action plans over the following months.  They would be monitored,
and assistance for resolving problems would be provided by the
African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit
Associations (ACCOSCA).

     (2)  Cooperative banks

Information on the technical assistance activities of ICA's
specialized body, the International Cooperative banking
Association was not available at the time of preparation of this

     (3)  Cooperative insurance enterprises

ICMIF, through its regional associations, and in collaboration
with ICA regional offices and members, promotes cooperative
insurance on a regional level.  In the Asia and Pacific region,
for example, the first of a series of annual joint ICA/ICMIF
Insurance Seminars was held in Tokyo, with participants from
regional cooperative movements, including those where a
cooperative insurance enterprise already existed: Indonesia and
Sri Lanka where a pilot project was in progress; China; or where
a cooperative insurance programme was about to be begun - with
recent deregulation of previously State dominated markets (as in
India, Thailand and Vietnam). 

In 1994, after a nine week study of the insurance industry in
Singapore, a consultant on insurance to the Government of China
suggested that the Singapore cooperative insurance enterprise
NTUC INCOME set up a representative office, including a research
and consultative service unit in cooperative insurance, at the
Nankai University in Tianjin, China, where there was an extremely
large market for cooperative insurance enterprises.

Considerable technical assistance between cooperative insurance
enterprises occurs, with a growing South-South component.  For
example, NTUC INCOME of Singapore encourages trainees from other
countries in Asia and the Pacific.

In October 1994, a seminar was held in conjunction with the
Americas Association (AAC/MIS) annual meeting in Puerto Rico to
examine investment and capital consideration, insurance fraud and
structural changes necessitated by competitive pressures.   In
May 1995, the Americas Association organized a seminar entitled
"Volunteers in Insurance Development" in Washington DC, with
financial assistance from USAID.  It was designed to increase the
capacity of ICMIF and its regional association to offer advice
and assistance to popular based movement interested in providing
their members with insurance services.  Case studies were
prepared including one on a cooperative insurance development
assistance programme in Barbados.

ICMIF's Americas Association (AAC/MIS), which has 19 members, is
the regional association most actively involved in development.
In 1994 it had projects in nine countries in the Americas, but
others also in Africa and Asia (as well as in central and eastern
Europe).  Cooperative insurance enterprises in Canada and the
United States, with financial support from cooperative and
national development agencies in both countries have provided
financial and technical assistance, but within the framework of
the regional association. 

ICMIF uses regional advisers drawn from national member
cooperative enterprises in the region to provide development
services in their own region.  For example, in 1993 advisers from
Japan and Singapore conducted a seminar for the Vietnam General
Confederation of Labour, on the basis of which the Confederation
was to undertake a feasibility study for the development of a
workers insurance cooperative.  In 1994 they conducted three
seminars on cooperative insurance for the Trade Union Congress
of the Philippines, with the help of a USAID grant made available
through the Americas Association of ICMIF (a form of inter-
regional triangular technical assistance).  The Trade Union
Congress wished to substitute a cooperative insurance enterprise
for the private insurer previously engaged to provide insurance
to its members.

ICMIF organized the first two-year assistance programme in 1994,
with consultants from Canada and Sweden supporting the
development of the Kenyan Cooperative Insurance Society.

Regional seminars are organized by national enterprises also: 
in September 1993 one was held in Malaysia, with participants
from Japan, China Singapore, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and
Thailand.  NTUC INCOME in Singapore invited counterparts in
Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to a managers workshop
on "total quality management".