ICA Regional Assembly for Africa Nairobi, Kenya , 9 September 1994 Minutes Opening Ceremony The meeting was called to order by the alternate ICA Vice-President (Africa), Hon. B. Wolimbwa, who welcomed participants from ICA members in West, North, and East, Central and Southern Africa, who were assembled together for the first time. The Chairman of the African Ministerial Co-operative Conference, Hon. J. Makwetta, Minister for Agriculture (Tanzania), spoke of the progress made in the region as a result of the ICA's Co-operative Development Decade, 1985-95. The ICA President, Lars Marcus, spoke of the challenges facing co-operatives in Africa as a result of structural adjustment and economic liberalisation, which had made business efficiency more important than ever for co-operatives. The Kenyan Minister of Co-operative Development, Hon. K. Mwinyi, introduced a paper which was then read on behalf of the Vice-President of Kenya. In this report the Vice-President said that the government was committed to improving the policy environment in which co-operatives operated and that, with the help of the World Bank, revision of the co-operative legislation had begun. A vote of thanks was given by Mr. Idris of Egypt. Statutory Business The ICA President officially called the meeting to order. Delegates adopted the minutes of the Constitutive Meeting of the Regional Assembly held in Abidjan on 25 May, 1993, which had agreed upon guidelines for the Regional Assembly's operation and statutes. In accordance with these statutes, and in the absence of the ICA Vice-President (Africa), Mr. Dibba, Mr. Marcus then turned the chair over to Hon. B. Wolimbwa, alternate ICA Vice-President (Africa). Reports The ICA President gave a report on major developments affecting ICA members in other regions. Mr. Marcus also spoke of the need for a new co-operative development strategy for Africa which would be used by movements and donors. He said that, in view of his intention to retire at the 1995 Congress, this would likely be his last visit to Africa as ICA President. Mr. Wolimbwa said that he wished to refer later to Mr. Marcus's comments. He then spoke of the importance of the new decentralised ICA structure for the future of co-operative development in Africa. He noted that progress in removing legislative obstacles had been slow, and that there remained a need to find a balance between the need for state support and lack of government interference in the operation of co-operatives. He said that there exists a considerable potential to attract new ICA members in all parts of Africa. The ICA Regional Director for East, Central and Southern Africa, Vincent Lubasi, reported on national developments in the region, where most co-operative movements had been adversely affected by the changing economic environment, and on the work of the ICA office. He indicated that plans were under way to organise a "Co-operative Forum for South Africa". The ICA Regional Director for West Africa, A.S. Kibora, reported on his office's activities within its current five-year work programme and on the negative effects experienced by co-operatives as a result of the devaluation of the CFA franc. He indicated that the office was studying the establishment of a regional co-operative development fund. Specialised Body Reports Hans Dahlberg, chief executive officer of the International Co-operative and Mutual Insurance Federation, spoke of the role and structure of ICMIF, and the importance of insurance in economic development. E. Kwelda, chairman of the newly-formed African regional association of ICMIF, reported on plans to support co-operative insurance development in Africa through the ICA/ICMIF project. Katarina Apelqvist, chairperson of the ICA Women's Committee, stressed the link between women's involvement and sustainable economic development of co-operatives, and said that policy changes such as quotas and managerial incentives were needed in order to promote the increased participation of women. Ms. Gicheriu, principal of the Co-operative College of Kenya, described the efforts under way to establish an African Committee of INCOTEC (the International Co-operative Training and Education Committee) and its collaboration with the ICA's Human Resource Development projects in the two Regional Offices. Consideration of Seminar Deliberations The ICA Director-General, Bruce Thordarson, reported on the conclusions of the September 8th seminar on "Co-operative Adjustment in a Changing Environment". He noted that comments made during the seminar would assist the authors of the strategy paper in finalising their document, which should then be used in three ways: to stimulate African co-operatives in their strategic planning, to guide the ICA Regional Offices in their programming, and to assist co-operative development agencies in the North to gain access to more resources for Africa. The conclusions were accepted. Mr. Minishi, Manager of Human Resource Development, ROECSA, summarised the conclusions of the September 6th seminar on "Co-operative Principles". The seminar had adopted revisions to the ICA's draft "Statement on Co-operative Identity", which will be provided as input to the work of Ian MacPherson. The seminar proposed changes to the Definition, Values, and Principles sections of the statement, and also suggested that the titles of the seven principles be made more descriptive. The conclusions were accepted. Date and Venue of Next Meeting The acting Chairman of the ICA Regional Council for West Africa, Mr. Dieng, invited the African Regional Assembly to hold its 1996 meeting in Dakar, Senegal. The offer was accepted. Any Other Business The Chairman drew delegates' attention to the available reports on recent co-operative development meetings in Helsinki and Harare, which had examined important issues for Africa. Closing The Chairman, referring to the ICA President's earlier remarks, said that Mr. Marcus had made a contribution to co-operative development in Africa which would never be forgotten, and expressed his thanks to the Swedish co-operative movement for their long commitment to the region. Mr. Wolimbwa expressed appreciation to his colleagues from other parts of Africa, to guests from outside Africa, to the observers, to the co-operative movement in Kenya, and to the ICA head office and regional office staff members for their contribution to a successful Regional Assembly. The Chairman declared the meeting closed.