Co-operatives and Youth in the Context of Rural

Prof. G. M. Nkondo
Cooperatives and Youth
in the Context of Rural
Presented at the Seminar Organized by Agri-Seta
Prof. Muxe Nkondo
National Small Business Advisory Council, Department of Trade and Industry
21 September 2012
• This presentation builds on an optimistic outlook against a
general background of pessimism that fails to account for a
range of effective practices across the African continent,
Brazil, China, and India. South African cooperatives are at the
crossroads. Persistent difficulties in accessing funds and
markets are now being compounded by new threats arising
from the global economic crisis. But South Africa has at least
four major opportunities to transform its cooperatives to be a
force for job creation and economic growth.
Prof. G. M. Nkondo
1. Introduction
• First, advances in science, technology, and innovation
worldwide offer South African cooperatives new tools needed
to promote their development. Second, efforts to create
regional markets will provide new incentives for the
advancement of cooperatives. Third, African governments,
including our own, are helping small and middle-size
enterprises, especially cooperatives, to focus on sustainable
development. Fourth, universities and research institutions
are initiating research into enterprise development, drawing
valuable lessons from Brazil, Tanzania, Kenya, China, and India.
Prof. G. M. Nkondo
Introduction (Cont.)
Cross-country research has identified the following strategic
questions that should guide analysis:
• How can we position cooperatives to be at the centre of
efforts to spur economic development in South Africa and
promote regional integration?
• What policies and institutional changes are needed to
promote cooperatives in the context of regional integration?
• What measures should be taken to ensure that cooperatives
interact in ways that accelerate the move beyond low valueadded subsistence in agriculture and other related sectors?
Prof. G. M. Nkondo
2. Critical Strategic Questions
• What specifically should be done to foster interactions among
government, industry, academia, and civil society – all of
which are critical actors in the development of cooperatives?
• How can we align the governance of cooperatives to national
and regional imperatives? This is likely to affect trade policies
in the region?
• How can we influence universities and research institutes to
align their missions and operations with the development of
• What lessons can be learnt about regional integration from
the European Union and its impact on trade and enterprise
Prof. G. M. Nkondo
Critical Strategic Questions
• Examine critical linkages in South Africa and the continent
between cooperatives, rural development, and economic
growth. The current global economic crisis, deepening
poverty, widening unemployment, and the threat of persistent
social conflict and violence have reinforced the urgency to find
lasting solutions to the challenges facing cooperatives.
• Improving the performance of cooperatives will require
deliberate policy efforts to bring higher technical and
management skills, especially in universities, to the service of
cooperatives and enterprise development. It is important to
focus on how to improve the productivity of the youth, most
of whom are excluded from cooperatives and related
developmental initiatives.
Prof. G. M. Nkondo
3. Integrated Strategy for the Development of
Cooperatives: Key Issues
• In collaboration with universities and research institutes,
review major advances in science, technology, and business
organizational design and identify their potential for use in the
development of cooperatives. This should include local
innovations and indigenous knowledge.
• Examine the critical linkages between infrastructure,
agriculture, rural development, and cooperatives.
• Explore ways in which big business can be encouraged to
support cooperatives.
• Examine regional approaches to economic integration and
explore ways in which they could foster cooperatives.
Prof. G. M. Nkondo
Integrated Strategy for the Development of
Cooperatives: Key Issues (Cont.)
4. The Importance of Regional
• Regional Economic Communities can serve to coordinate
innovation in cooperatives, agriculture, and rural
• Care must be taken to avoid overlap and duplication of effort.
• Assess the work of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), the Common Market of Eastern and
Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC),
and the Economic Community of West African States
Prof. G. M. Nkondo
Economic Communities
Examine the importance of the tripartite alliance, agreed upon in
2008, between COMESA, SADC, and EAC with respect to the following
strategic issues:
• Free movement of ‘cooperators’ and business people generally.
• Joint implementation of inter-regional infrastructure programs.
• Introduction of institutional arrangements that promote
cooperation among cooperatives in the three Regional Economic
• Joint programs include: a single airspace; an accelerated seamless
inter-regional broadband infrastructure networks; and a harmonized
policy and regulatory frameworks to govern information and
communication technology and infrastructure development.
Prof. G. M. Nkondo
The Importance of Regional
Economic Communities (Cont.)
• Fostering cooperatives development will require government
to function as an active facilitator of cooperatives
development. Government actions will need to reflect the
entrepreneurial character of the cooperatives community.
They too will need to be entrepreneurial. Moreover,
addressing the challenges will require government to adopt a
mission-oriented approach, setting key targets and providing
support to cooperatives to help them meet quantifiable goals.
A mission-oriented approach will require greater reliance on
executive coordination of diverse activities. There is therefore
a need to strengthen capacity building, science, technology,
and innovation in all sustainable aspects of cooperatives.
Prof. G. M. Nkondo
The Importance of Regional
Economic Communities (Cont.)
• The search for a sustainable funding model should begin with
the assessment of the efficacy of the policy tools used to
promote cooperatives. These include direct financing,
matching grants, taxation policies, and rewards for creativity
and innovation. It should include also innovative strategies to
foster collaboration between government, the private sector,
donor agencies, and civil society.
Prof. G. M. Nkondo
5. The Search for a Sustainable
Funding Model
Prof. G. M. Nkondo
Thank You!

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