During the past 12 months the International Co-operative Alliance has welcomed 17 new members. As of 31 December 2017, the Alliance has 306 members from 105 countries, 46 of which are associate members. The organisation witnessed a 2.3% increase in membership, from 299 members in 2016.
The new member countries are: Angola, Fiji, Ghana and Morocco while the departing countries are Georgia and Lesotho.
Joining from Morocco is the Office du Devélopement de la Coopération (Office for Development Cooperation - ODC), a government body in charge of supervising and supporting co-operatives. It has joined as an associate member. Morocco has 12,646 co-operatives, 66% of which are agricultural. These are followed by crafts 15%, housing 9%, and other 10%.
Ghana is represented by Ghana Cooperative Agricultural Producers and Marketing Association (AGRIC COOP GHANA), a regional and sectoral federation and Ghana Co-operative Council (GCC), a national federation. The country is home to 446 co-operatives and mutuals which have a total membership of 437,520 members, or 1.72% of the population.
Angola’s Cooperativa De Credito Para Os Funcionários Da Presidência (COOCREFP), has 100 members and was set up in 2014. The credit union provides affordable financial services to government employees. In addition to this, it also runs various marketing programmes to promote the co-operative model and provides training for members.
And from Fiji, Nasinu Land Purchase & Housing Co-operative Limited (NLPHCL) joined as a full member. NLPHCL is one of the most thriving co-ops in Fiji, developing and selling land in the Nadawa and Nasinu areas. In 2015, the co-operative had 446 individual members and 96 member societies. It owns 326 acres of land. Fiji has 29 co-operatives with 15,243 members, representing 1.74% of the population.
The other new members gained in 2017 are: Heilongjiang Guhe Cooperative Association (Guhe) from China as a member, MASS-SPECC Cooperative Development Center (MASS-SPECC) from the Philippines as a member, Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union (OCFCU) Ltd from Ethiopia as a member, COOPSERVIDORES R.L. from Costa Rica as a member, Nepal Multipurpose Central Co-operative Union Ltd (NEMCCU) from Nepal as a member, Japan Co-op Insurance Consumers' Co-operative Federation (JCIF) from Japan as a member, Japan Cooperative General Research Institute (JC-Soken) from Japan as an associate member, Easy Investment Co-op Credit Union Ltd (EICCU) from Ghana as a member, Baugenossenschaft mehr als wohnen from Switzerland as a member, Confederación de Cooperativas Rurales del Paraguay Ltda. (CONCOPAR) from Paraguay as a member, Union of Labor Service Cooperative (ULSC) from the Philippines as a member and Co-operative Development Authority (CDA) also from the Philippines, as a government organisation.
Photo: Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union (OCFCU) Ltd from Ethiopia (c) Fairtrade UK