ILO contributes to the Tanzanian cooperative development policy review

The ILO provides inputs to the review of the cooperative development policy in Tanzania towards creating enabling environment for cooperatives as autonomous, member-owned, and democratically-controlled enterprises.

News | 27 September 2019
Since the first introduction of cooperatives in Tanzania in the 1930s, the Tanzanian Government has recognized cooperatives as enterprises critical toward achieving social and economic development. Toward that end, the government has been engaged in efforts to boost cooperatives in the country.

The first Tanzanian Cooperative Development Policy (CDP) was formulated in 1997 outlining the government’s commitment to cooperative development. A second edition of CDP was developed in 2002 to ensure cooperatives operate independently and competitively as member-based organizations. Between 2007-12, the ILO worked closely with cooperative stakeholders in Tanzania through a development cooperation project (COOPAFRICA) based in Dar Es Salaam and covering Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar and eight other countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. The project focused on creating an enabling legal and policy environment for cooperative development, facilitating access to financial resources, and providing capacity-building opportunities to cooperative stakeholders.

Since then the ILO has collaborated with the Tanzanian government, ILO constituents and other UN agencies and stakeholders in the context of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) with a dedicated programme that promotes agricultural cooperatives using financing for farmers’ groups, and value chain approaches. In the last decade, Tanzania recorded significant growth in the number of cooperatives and members, especially in provision of better livelihoods for workers and entrepreneurs in the rural and informal economies. Tanzanian cooperatives still face numerous challenges including poor governance and management and lack of education and training relevant to cooperatives among others.

As highlighted by the ILO Recommendation on the Promotion of Cooperatives, 2002, (No. 193) the establishment of a supportive policy and legal framework is critical for cooperative development. Acknowledging that the potential of cooperative enterprises has not been fully utilized partly due to an unfavourable legal and regulatory framework , the Government of Tanzania has embarked on the review of the CDP.

Recently, the ILO was asked to provide inputs into this process. The ILO inputs underlined the need for striking a good balance between autonomy of cooperatives and the role of the state. The ILO also emphasized the necessity for co-creation of the policy where all relevant stakeholders can participate in the process and share their views to form a common understanding of the current situation and the future directions to move forward. The ILO remains committed to accompany its constituent in this process policy review and subsequent reform.