Introduction (1994)

    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
                         September, 1994

          (Source:  Report of a Study Commissioned by ICA
          Europe - Co-operative Adjustment in a Changing
          Environment in Sub-Saharan Africa - P.1)


This report is commissioned by ICA Europe. Co-operative
leaders in Europe recognize the difficult situation facing many
co-operatives in Africa and have asked themselves how their own
organizations better can assist their counterpart
organizations in Africa. This report tries to provide some
answers to this question in its final chapter.

The rapidly changing environment in Africa makes current
co-operative development strategies and donor strategies
obsolete, and any mobilization of additional resources for co-
operative development assistance will have to take the new
situation into account. It was therefore considered necessary
to make an analysis of the present situation, outline, in
general terms, a new strategy for co-operative development in
Africa, upon which a revised strategy for the donors could be
based. It is strongly felt that a clear view on how the
African co-operatives intend to meet the future, together with
a revised co-operative donor strategy, will be a prerequisite
for obtaining aid resources from government and international

It goes without saying that any strategy for development of
the co-operatives in Africa has to be developed by the
cooperators themselves, and not by outsiders. However, in order
to arrive at a revised role of the donors, we have outlined a
proposal for a new strategy for co-operative development in
Africa, taking the new circumstances into account. This proposal
must therefore only be seen as our contribution to the
discussions on the future of co-operatives, presently taking
place among the African cooperators. 

It deserves to be repeated that the conclusions and the
recommendations of this report are ours and not those of ICA
or the funder, the Swedish Co-operative Centre. We have
however been greatly assisted by two consultations with the
African cooperators; at a seminar in West Africa and at the
regional assembly of ICA Africa, recently held in Nairobi. We
wish to thank all cooperators who gave us their views and
comments at these events, enabling us to take them into
consideration when preparing the final version of the report. 

This report provides no final answers. It is a contribution to
an ongoing process; a process in which each co-operative
society in Africa will have to make its own analysis of the
situation, and find its own answers on how to meet the
challenges ahead.

September, 1994.

Lars-Erik Birgegaard
Bjorn Genberg