Governments Urged to Set Co-ops Free

This document has been made available in electronic format
     by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA
                     February 1996

          Governments Urged to Set Co-ops Free

The International Co-operative Banking Association (ICBA) has a new
President, Claude Beland. Mr Beland was unanimously elected in Manchester
by the ICBA Board. He takes over from Terry Thomas of the UK, who has been
the President since 1988.

Mr Beland, who comes from Canada, is the first President of ICBA from the
Francophone countries. During his tenure of office Mr Beland hopes to
strengthen the association and to promote collaboration among all the
association's members. One of his aims, he said, will be to play a strong
role in setting up a concentrated structure among co-operative financial
institutions in the Americas.

Mr Beland stressed that the honour must be shared by the whole co-operative
sector of Quebec. The appointment, he said, attests to the growing role
played by the Movement Desjardins at the international level.

The outgoing President of ICBA said that during his tenure of office, ICBA
became a regional-structured organisation. The benefits of a regional
organisation, Mr Thomas said, were to help ICBA attract more members and at
the same time lower the cost of membership, both in terms of subscription
and travel, which was particularly important for less developed countries.

The ICBA is a forum where financial co-operative institutions from across
the world discuss major issues. At one of the ICBA sessions, discussion
centred on the problem of separating co-operatives and government in
developing countries. ICBA Regional Chairman for East, Central and Southern
Africa, Mr E.K. Mureithi, who delivered his regional report said this
problem has affected the performance of co-operatives in the region and he
urged governments to set co-ops free from government administration to
enable them to manage their own affairs. Mr Mureithi also called upon
co-ops in the area to recruit and hire qualified members of staff, if they
expected to perform well. African co-ops, he said, require a radical change
in the next century.

Phil Anzeze