Cooperativismo Latino Americano en Cifras 1995

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

    Cooperativismo Latino Americano en Cifras 1995

edited by Organizacion de las Cooperativas de America, Santa Fe de Bogota,
237pp, tabs. graphs. ISBN 958-95840-0-4

Statistical publications run the same danger as fashion shows - just
presented and already out of date. Some however, by exceptional quality of
analysis elude the rule of time. The past year had been particularly rich
in co-op research with many excellent publications, especially regarding
the Latin American region. For quite time now the ICA and other
non-governmental organisations were publishing short books, sort of instant
pictures, on various movements : co-operatives in Honduras, co-operatives
in Guatemala etc., The FAO had launched two studies on agricultural
co-operatives. There was a general consensus that the time had become ripe
to launch a regional, plurisectoral study.

SILAIC stands for Sistema Regional de Informatica Cooperativa or Regional
System for Cooperative Information, a network for collecting data developed
jointly by OCA, ACI and COLAC with help of the Canadian Co-operative
Association. SILAIC proved to be an efficient tool, hence it remained only
to find a brave - and well off - organisation which would accept the
challenge. The objective was to define parameters of comparison between
co-operative sectors in different countries in order to maximise the
competitivity and reduce the weaknesses of the co-op sector. It is
noteworthy that the data comes from research programmes initiated by OCA,
ICA and COLAC and using the same standards. The time span encompass years
1987 to 1992. Therefore, only primary sources were used for preparation of
tables and for socio-economic analysis and the list of those is
scrupulously added at the end of every chapter. For obvious reasons, the
information for some countries is limited, fragmented or out of time
buandaries but it does not impede the overall value of the study. The
terminology may cause problems. It will be of help to readers not familiar
with regional practices to explain what is meant by agricultural or
industrialisation co-operatives within the specific Latin American context.
In spite of this restriction the authors deserve praise for clearly
explaining the adopted methodology, specyfing difficulties and constrains.

The study is composed of two parts : first the agglomerate regional data
including macroeconomic indicators then country with data from Argentina,
Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Dominican Republic,
Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama,
Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico,  Uruguay and Venezuela.

Each country study, besides statistical information, points out principal
strengths and weaknesses of the movement laying foundation for further
analysis. Those interested in figures would find everything available on
sectors, turnovers, goods and services produced, import, export, growth by
activity and even in two cases (Honduras and Panama) membership
desegregated by sex. Readers interested in socio-economic information can
refer to a concise description of the movement at the beginning of the

Some fashion shows achieve more than merely to show colorful rugs. They
illustrate the social change and set trends for years to come. I hope the
fashion in co-op research will be for large statistical studies in all ICA
Regions. With the hemline, let's say, well below the knee.

Alina Pawlowska