|Jobs for Africa - Towards a Programme of Action - Report of the ILO/UNDP Programme on Employment Generation and Poverty Reduction (ILO - UNDP, 1997, 107 p.)|
|Chapter 2: Technical assistance for the generation of employment and reduction of poverty|
|2.2 Technical Assistance at the National Level|
Cooperatives have a considerable employment creation potential. However, very little of this potential is presently being used in Africa, because:
· governments and donors consider cooperatives primarily as an instrument for the delivery of pre- and post production services to (already self-employed) farmers, and not as a means to create jobs;
· labour-intensive types of cooperatives (workers' cooperatives, labour contracting cooperatives, ESOP-type enterprises, social service cooperatives, cooperative networks in the informal sector etc), which are very successful in other parts of the world, are virtually unknown in Africa;
· social partners are focussing on the promotion of cooperatives that provided services to employed people instead of promoting cooperatives that create new jobs.
To change this situation, governments and development partners must reorient their cooperative development policies, adapt their cooperative laws and create a cost-efficient system for the delivery of adequate technical and financial support services to job creating cooperatives. The following actions have to be carried out to achieve this:
At regional and sub-regional levels:
· Reorient the support activities of regional cooperative organisations (ICA, ACCOSCA) towards job creation;
· Put cooperative development on the agenda of sub-regional economic entities (SADC, PTA, UDEAC, CEEAC etc.).
At national level:
· bring cooperative development policies and cooperative acts in line with democratic principles, the market economy and universal cooperative principles, and include special provisions for workers' cooperatives and worker-owned enterprises;
· organize a tripartite dialogue on job creation through cooperatives at national level;
· integrate cooperative promotion into other sector development policies, in particular the employment policy;
· include the option of workers' takeovers as an alternative to the privatization or liquidation of para-statal agencies or state companies;
· create, in collaboration with national NGOs, trade unions and government units, a comprehensive service infrastructure that provides cooperatives with the following services:
- assistance in administrative procedures for the establishment of a cooperative for self-employment;
- technical advice and training in product design and production technology;
- managerial advice and management training;
- marketing assistance, including export marketing;
- access to capital through a guarantee fund and the establishment of mutual guarantee associations;
- advice and assistance in organizing social services for members;
- advice and assistance on the establishment of secondary organisations, such as unions of workers' cooperatives.
At meso-level (support institutions):
· improve the technical capacity of support structures that are part of the aforementioned service infrastructure;
· promote the vertical integration workers' cooperatives and similar organisations, and the horizontal integration of workers' cooperatives and other types of cooperatives.
· provide, through the service infrastructure and the collaborating support organisations, adequate technical and financial support services to workers' cooperatives and similar organisations.