News from the Regions

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News from the Regions
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***AFRICA***

Women, Co-operative Development and Africa

As part of the ICA's campaign to have the Fourth UN Conference on Women
recognise the contribution of co-operatives to the advancement of women,
Ms. Sendra Ratisimandresy Toure, HRD/ Gender Officer at the ICA Regional
Office for West Africa attended the Fifth African Regional Conference on
Women in Dakar, Senegal.

Convened by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the Conference
reviewed the situation of African women today.  National reports were
presented by government representatives supplemented by reports from
NGOs.  The ICA presented a document reviewing the contribution of
co-operatives to the advancement of African women which cited
specific areas in which co-operatives had been successful in
improving women's economic and social status.  Ms. Toure was also
able to present a brief statement reiterating the fact that
co-operatives could provide opportunities for African women which in
turn could contribute to improving their conditions of life.

Although the final document of the conference is not yet available (The
Platform for Action for the Advancement of Women in Africa), the resolution
adopted by the conference does recognise the potential role of
co-operatives in maximising women's human, financial and technical
resources.

Please contact the ICA Secretariat for a copy of ICA's report to the Fifth
African Regional Conference on Women.

***ASIA & THE PACIFIC***

Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly

The last of the four Regional Assemblies under the new ICA structure was
held in New Delhi on January 5-6, 1995, with 112 representatives and
observers in attendance.
The major themes of the meeting were the ICA's current review of the
Co-operative Principles, the three-year development programme of the
Regional Office, and a paper prepared in Australia on the reasons for the
tendency of co-operatives to transform themselves into joint stock
companies.

The Regional Assembly approved its new operating Rules, as well as those of
the Executive Council which will meet more frequently.  Mr. B.S.
Vishwanathan of India was elected as Chairman of the Regional Assembly for
the next two years, and Professor Ungku Aziz of Malaysia was elected
Vice-Chairman.

The outgoing Chairman, Yang Deshou of China, reported that the All-China
Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-operatives was now fully independent
of the Ministry of Agriculture, and that the first Chinese Co-operative
Congress would be held in May or June of this year to finalise the
restructuring of the co-operative movement, which would now become more
active on the international scene.

During the meeting Mr. M. Horiuchi of Japan announced his intention to
retire as ICA Vice-President at the time of the Manchester Congress.  The
Regional Assembly nominated Mr. H. Toyoda, President of JA Zenchu of Japan,
to succeed him for the remaining two years of his term.

The 1996 Regional Assembly will be held in Malaysia.


***THE AMERICAS***

Business with Co-ops in Latin America

The International Co-operative Alliance, Regional Office for Central
America and the Caribbean has launched an innovative new project relevant
to businesses, investors and co-operatives interested in expanding
operations in the Latin American Region, entitled 'Doing Business with
Co-operatives in Latin America'. The project aims to draw attention to and
promote business opportunities within enterprises that, until now, have
received relatively little attention in the mainstream media and
conventional sources of business information.

The project will offer practical information and help in forging contacts
between regional co- operatives and their counterparts from around the
world.

The project has been funded by the Swedish Co-operative Centre and the
Societe de Developpement International Desjardins (DID) of Canada.

The project will publish executive-style business guides for several
important countries of the region, including summarised information that
investors and businesses will find invaluable in understanding these
countries, their economic indicators, legal and political background, tax
policies, key sector profiles, banking and finance information, labour
policies, etc. and of course opportunities provided by the co-operative
sector in each of these countries, besides highlighting advantages of such
tax exemptions, free trade agreements, distribution channels, etc.


***EUROPE***


Co-operators Named to ECOSOC in Brussels

The Swedish Government has included two well-known co-operative figures
among its 12 nominees to the European Union's Economic and Social
Committee, which provides advice to the Commission and the Council of
Ministers.

The new Committee members are Turid Strom, previously with the Swedish
Consumer Co-operative Union (KF) and now representing Sweden's national
consumer organisation, and Jan Olsson, the Brussels-based representative of
the Swedish Co-operative Institute (Koopi).  Following the entry of Sweden,
Finland and Austria to the EU, there are now 220 members of ECOSOC.
(Svenska Dagbladet, 22 January 1995)

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