Representatives of cooperatives under the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) will this month meet in Kigali for the tenth international conference.
This will mark the International Day of Cooperatives, under the theme; “Cooperatives enterprise build a better Africa”.
“We expect to host representatives from countries; members to the African Union and this is a great opportunity that we shall have to share experience and demonstrate what we have achieved as a country in terms of promoting cooperatives,” said Damien Mugabo, the Director General, Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA).
RCA is a national agency that gives legal operation or registers cooperatives considering the stipulated minimum requirements as regards the 2011 cooperative law.
It is the first time that Rwanda will host the conference. The decision was made in 2009 during the ninth conference that took place in Nairobi, Kenya.
The meeting is held after every three years. It works as a platform through which cooperative heads share experience and plan way forward for African countries can promote cooperatives to fight poverty.
Mugabo said the two day conference will start on the 22 October. In addition to the meeting, ministers from the participating countries in charge of cooperatives will also have a two days meeting from 25th.
Currently, the agency has registered over 4000 cooperatives countrywide. Mugabo highlighted on the measures put in place. He said that among others, the agency has auditors who respond or are charged with the responsibility of auditing cooperatives that are suspected or members raise concerns especially on issues concerning embezzlements.
The agency has also been cracking down ghost cooperatives especially those that do not meet the legal requirements. Among other factors, the cooperative law requires that at least seven people, who are not family members and have clear evidence about the operations of a cooperative, can start one.
“We just do not register these cooperatives, but we also make sure that they operate in a way that benefit members as it is one the main issues we encourage people to work through cooperatives,” he said.
RCA officials say that when audit reports confirm embezzlement, those responsible especially heads of cooperatives are prosecuted.
The Executive Secretary of the National Confederation of Cooperatives in Rwanda (NCCR), Emmy Tumukunde, said the meeting will bring learning environment through which measures of solving issues affecting cooperatives can be solved.
NCCR is a private body that brings together cooperatives through advocacy as well as building their capacities to operate by developing training programmes.