By Patrick Jaramogi
The CEO of The Uhuru Institute for Social Development, Mr. Leonard Okello has emphasized that cooperatives are a pragmatic solution to Africa’s poverty challenges. The philosophies of inclusiveness and member-centred development, which cooperatives embody, make the cooperative business model an ideal vehicle for economic growth.
Africa is the second largest continent in the world. By this reckoning, the African continent should be in the realm of the richest countries. However, the truth is the exact opposite. Africa’s population is more than twice that of the United States, but its total income is not much more than Belgium’s. The median Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per African country is $2 billion.
Mr. Okello noted that Africa as a continent is vast and rich in resources that can help propel its position on the global scene. He observed that despite the recorded economic growth registered in Africa in recent years, with over one-third of Sub-Saharan Africa countries posting 6% or higher growth rates, and another 40% growing between 4% to 6% per year, these figures can hit the sky if Africans are organized under cooperatives.
“If cooperatives unite, work as teams, and have their members build capacity in value addition and standardization, their products that are much on demand in Europe will lead to increase in exports and thus more foreign exchange for African countries,” Mr. Okello said.
He was presenting a paper, the political Economy of Cooperatives and Development in Uganda at the Coop Tree Leadership Orientation workshop, held at the Kyoto Spiritual Resort in Namugongo. The workshop, which runs from 4-7 November 2018 is attended by cooperatives that emerged best in the Plant a Coop Tree competition. They include: Munaku Kaama SACCO, Katesani SACCO from Ibanda, Kikooba United Cooperative Society, Bulangira Farmers SACCO and Nebbi Transporters Cooperative Society.
Mrs. Jane Amuge Okello, the Operations Director at The Uhuru Institute said the organisation is in place to inspire citizens to generate wealth for prosperity. She noted that with value addition coupled with proper skills development, cooperatives can be a better solution to address the biting poverty in Africa.