18 December 2015
The cooperative model is helping people across Africa overcome barriers and build better lives. Zimbabwean politician and a former Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Sithembiso Nyoni said at the at the Alliance’s Global Conference in Antalya. She talked about the role of cooperatives in tackling the challenges faced by Africa, including climate change.
“Climate change is the biggest threat to human development and our survival. It resulted not just in global warming but also in floods, droughts, and other changes leading to people struggling to survive, impacted on our water supply and food. In Zimbabwe the government has built small and big dams and cooperatives have taken advantage of this to create fishing, irrigation and food production enterprises”, she said.
Another land reform has enabled 500,000 families to engage in agriculture and livestock, leading to an increase in the number of agricultural cooperatives. “Beyond 2020 cooperatives have a big opportunity to grow bigger and control agri businesses and the food industry”. She added that the governments of Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Ethiopia had increased their budget for farmers and cooperatives. Cooperatives are also making a difference in the energy sector, developing renewable solar power and biogas schemes.
“I feel we still don’t put enough emphasis on creating supportive environment and institutions for the recognition and support of cooperatives” she said. “Africa is on the move. This is our century. The cooperative is our model.”