Cooperatives provide their members with the adequate tools enabling the transition towards the formal economy

“Cooperatives provide their members with the legal basis, the economies of scale, skills training, accumulation and access to markets and to credit and a long term vision, which enable the transition towards the formal economy”, Bruno Roelants, Secretary General of CICOPA,underlined the advantages of those enterprises at the International Labour Conference held from 28 May to 12 June, on behalf of the International Cooperative Alliance.

2 June 2014

In line with the above-mentioned, Roelants indicated that cooperatives deliver “higher-than-average security of employment, social protection and contribution to development, as has been repeatedly recognized by the United Nations”. Cooperatives play such a role in the transition towards the formal economy because “it is a fundamental aspect of their mission, which is to satisfy ordinary citizens’ needs (such as work, production and credit etc.) through an enterprise which is democratically controlled by the same citizens”, said Roelants.

The Committee on facilitating transitions from the informal to the formal Economy integrated by worker, employer and government delegates from the International Labour Organisation’s 185 member States, is focusing the conference debate on a wide range of issues, including labour migration and employment strategies and ways out of informality. The Secretary General of CICOPA mentioned the two centuries of experience of cooperatives in ensuring such transitions: “for example, rural credit and agricultural cooperatives in the 19th century in Germany and France lifted the majority of farmers out of informality and indebtedness: this process then extended itself to most of what has become the industrialized world and more recently, the emerging countries”.

Roelants requested that a strong reference must be made to cooperatives in the instrument to be developed inside the Committee. “Such a reference would help the cooperative system of organizations (federations, training centres, local development institutions etc.) contribute more rapidly and more efficiently to this process in this particularly difficult period of our history”, he concluded.

Read the full speech of Bruno Roelants here:

International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives

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