4. Rethinking Cooperatives and the African Agenda


Cooperatives & Cooperation Working Group

Cooperation has been a major tenet of African culture since time-immemorial and cooperatives have been encouraged and practiced in virtually all African countries from precolonial times up to the present. Still, each period is marked by the evolution of the cooperative model and its implementation, leading to both successes and failures. In the immediate post-colonial period from the 1960s to the mid-1980s, governments played a large role in controlling and regulating cooperatives, setting them as vehicles to implement the idea of “African Socialism”. After the mid-1980s, state controlled cooperatives were abandoned for the liberal cooperatives within a wider period of economic liberalization in many African countries. Yet, despite the rich history of cooperation and cooperative culture in Africa, the problems of economic development have persisted, leaving scholars to question the role and potential of cooperatives today.

Following the rich background of cooperatives in Africa, the YSI Cooperatives and Cooperation Working Group welcomes interdisciplinary contributions in form of papers or presentations that focus on (but need not be not limited to) the following topics:

  • Cooperative capacity and building institutions  

  • Legislation and cooperative policy

  • Cooperatives, housing and urbanisation

  • Agricultural cooperatives

  • Industrial and commercial cooperatives

  • Case studies of cooperative success and failure in post-colonial Africa  

  • Cooperatives and economic development

  • Comparative analysis of cooperatives across regions

Research into cooperatives across the globe are also welcome, particularly where lessons can be drawn for African cooperatives.

Questions regarding this call can be directed to: Terrence Muzorewa (terencemuzorewa@gmail.com) - Cooperatives and Cooperation Working Group