Cooperatives in Social and Economic Development in Essay

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Cooperatives in social and economic development in Africa

Social Economic Development

The Role of the Cooperatives in social and economic development in Africa: the case of Botswana

The Role of the Cooperatives in social and economic development in Africa: the case of Botswana

There are a number of political and socioeconomic advantages in relation to the co-operative movements in Botswana. The cooperation has been believed to be important for the people of Botswana. The cooperation as thought about by the governments can be used in order to empower the people of Botswana by providing them a variety of business opportunities and entrepreneur skills. The establishment of cooperatives was started by the African government immediately after independence. These cooperatives were established in order to make sure that the interests of the African government. These interests are highlighted in Cooperative Societies Law in accordance to which organization and promoting cooperatives is an important responsibility of the African government (Kiggundu, 2001, p. 55).

Since a few years, great hurdles have been faced in the development and implementation of these cooperatives. In the beginning two decades, there has been an increase in success earned by the cooperative movement in Botswana. Based on the success earned, these cooperatives have been an important model for the other developing countries as well. However, certain legislative measures and laws of the country have caused a slowing down in the activities of these cooperatives. In this cooperative movement, there are than 150 cooperatives, and having more than 82000 members, the efficiency of these cooperatives has increased since the past few years. Some of the main criticisms on these cooperatives are that lesser opportunities for employment exist still after operational activities of the cooperation neither any kind of social protection is being provided to the members of the cooperative (Michler, 2004, p. 78). Furthermore, the economic outputs of these cooperatives are very less as compared to what was anticipated and the economic status of the members of the cooperatives is insignificant.

The legislative framework for the cooperatives is provided by the Department of Cooperatives is meant to provide additional support. Nevertheless, no support is being provided to the cooperative by the Department of Cooperatives. Instead, it has added into the conflicts that have occurred between the federations and the cooperative. This is because of Department of Cooperatives keeps encouraging the cooperatives not to understand the functions and operations of the federations.

Literature Review

Major developmental changes have been witnessed in the past few years by the cooperatives is Botswana. The cooperatives thereby face many challenges as well as limitations (Firestone, and Karlin, 2010, p. 45). The cooperatives did not come into the spotlight in Botswana in a sudden manner. Instead these cooperative had emerged as a result of the rising needs of the people of the regime. The first introduction of cooperatives was done in the year 1910 with the help of the Cooperative Agricultural Society Proclamation. However, less cooperate development was seen in the colonial period in spite of the presence of the Cooperative Agricultural Society Proclamation (Gujadhur, 2000, p. 90). Second attempt of an introduction of cooperatives in the African society was made in the year 1962. This year is known for the introduction of Cooperative Societies Law. Because of the development of this law, two fold successes were achieved in the development of cooperatives in Botswana. Primary and secondary cooperatives were created in Botswana in the year 1962. With the help of this law, two main governmental organizations were also developed. These organizations include the Cooperative Movement and the Department of Cooperatives (Leith, 2006, p. 100).

Some of the recent reports have shown that the performance of the cooperative has not been up to mark. Up till now, the development of a well patterned structure has not been developed neither any focus has been given to the development of a self-management program at every level of the cooperative. Because of no program of self-management, increased challenges are being faced by the apex level of the cooperatives. The basic challenge being faced by the cooperative is to survival. Since a few years, many new plans have been started by the African government in order to make changes in the infrastructure of the cooperative. Nevertheless, still there are a number of changes that are required to be made. The cooperative still has not been able to collect any funding based on which there exists an increased dependence of the cooperative on the financial resources of the African government. The cooperative has no resources to manage itself based on which governmental support is also required for managerial and administrative support.

Role in Social and Economic Development

Liberal levels of economic development have been seen in Botswana along with very less percentage of democratic reforms in the region. The importance of development of cooperatives has been recognized by the government of Botswana as it has been an important part of its National Development Programs. Recently, more than nine cooperatives have been recognized by the National Development Programs for the development of agriculture. From here it was decided that the activities of the cooperatives would be expanded in order to boost the economy.

1. Poverty Reduction

Some of these areas of the economy include household income, addressing the issues of poverty alleviation and women empowerment. There are a number of areas where the performance of the cooperative need to be analyzed. The level to which development in the region can be accelerated with an increased poverty reduction depends on the functions that the cooperative has in the region (Lucas, and Lekorwe, 2009, p. 39).

2. Employment

The improvement in employment rates in Botswana is to be analyzed based on indirect as well as direct employment created by the cooperative. Until now, no records of direct employment can be found. Managers, administrative staff and accountants are employed by the cooperative but the employment ratios still depend on the size of the cooperative itself (Allen, 2000, p. 87). For many years, there has been a great reduction in wage employment of the cooperative. It was reported in 2008 that the total number of people directly employed by the cooperative was around 700 which represented only 1% of the total Botswana population.

3. Social economy

There is a strong link between social economy and the responsibilities of the cooperative in Africa. The concept that designates organizations as well as enterprises, associations, foundations, social enterprises, and mutual benefit societies that have the capability of serving the population playing roles in boosting economy. Based on these concepts, cooperatives have been regarded as the sole pillar of economy in Botswana. Because of the activities of the cooperatives, a great rise is observed in groups whose functions are similar to the cooperatives (Honohan, and Beck, 2007, p. 98).

4. Education

Development has been seen in the cooperative colleges since the 1970s. The advancement has taken place in these colleges is such that advanced curricula has been designed, great diversification has been added into research, and a link has been made to the outer non-cooperative world, keeping in mind the aim of self-reliance and stability in finances. The development of a continental network of cooperative colleges was developed in the beginning. UK cooperative college is an important source of technical assistance to many cooperative colleges in western as well as eastern Africa. Still, great changes are needed in the education programs being run by the cooperative. In these cases, public and private sectors should be involved in improving educational programs (Khosrowpour, 2003, p, 39).

These changes are very less as compared to what should be done by these cooperatives in Botswana. Great reforms have taken place in Africa in the 1990s, and these have greatly changed the face of cooperatives working in Africa. These days, the cooperatives are diverse, more heterogeneous, and less structured. Some of the new issues that are still to be addressed include green jobs, community services, information technologies and fair trade (Denbow, and Thebe, 2006, p. 65).


The growth of cooperative movements in the African region and Botswana would be impeded if all educational opportunities are only restricted to the members of the cooperatives. Secondly, the capacity building for the cooperatives should not be in the financial, economic and managerial aspects. Social economy organizations as well as cooperatives have great roles to play in the decision making process at the local and nationwide level. Active citizenship is one of the main challenges being faced by the cooperatives in Botswana. Additional training is needed in terms of active citizenship. All the demands of the cooperative members are to be taken into account. The main limitation and challenge being faced by the cooperative. Lacking managerial skills, accounting skills, as well as bookkeeping. No funding is being given for the training of members and cooperative. Thereby, the training is poor. There is no member of the cooperative who is well trained in cooperative management. This is the limitation that has also been mentioned by the members…[continue]

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