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Posted in Stories on 08 May 2023

25 April 2023, Johannesburg - South Africa is the latest Southern African Development Community (SADC) partner country to enter into an international development cooperation agreement with the German Cooperative Raiffeisen Confederation (abbreviated DGRV in German), an Apex Cooperatives Body in Germany with over 20 million members. GCRC has ties with more than 30 other countries, to provide consultancy and aid to develop cooperative systems and structures aiming at a sustainable development of the cooperative sector.

The agreement will be implemented through a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Development Agency (NDA), an agency of government tasked with contributing towards the eradication of poverty and its causes in South Africa.

The NDA in discharging its mandate on poverty eradication, adopted the use of cooperative model to create sustainable livelihoods and economic activities for the poor at community level. The main aim of this approach is to create community owned enterprises that benefit members and their families. DGRV’s mission within SADC in South Africa is to use its more than 150 years of cooperatives tradition and experience, to contribute towards supporting and increasing the number of cooperatively organised groups in different sectors, that are actively participating in economic activity, income generation, job creation and poverty alleviation, through working with recognised representative organisations, the government and other stakeholders.

Within the MoU, both parties acknowledge their distinct and complementary roles, and commitment to jointly embarking on supporting and facilitating the development of community-based cooperatives at local government level, as guided by outlined district development models. These specific programmes and projects will be determined and agreed to jointly by parties on a case by case basis and in the event the parties embark on a project, it will be on the basis of a specific work programme plan and/ or Service Level Agreement that will be measured and evaluated periodically.

The overall objective is to facilitate sustainable economic participation for the poor, thus providing pathways for those excluded in participating in the economy to be at the centre of the means of production within poor communities. The cooperatives will be provided the necessary training, technical and financial support to implement integrated community programmes that promote financial and economic inclusivity for township and village economic vibrancy. Throughout, the Steering Committee will monitor, evaluate and compile impact assessment reports to measure the projects, and more importantly, the percentage of cooperatives that grow as a result of support received from implementation of this MoU.

“Currently our economy can only absorb high skilled persons, leaving behind a huge capable population, the cooperative model is the only solution to address the high unemployment rate. The empowerment of cooperatives will stimulate the economy – cooperatives are able to produce quality consumables at a lower cost to compete in markets, resulting in them creating sustainable income for themselves to survive and lessen the load on dependency for government assistance,” says Mr Bongani Magongo, Acting Chief Executive Officer of NDA.

“We are excited to enter into this partnership with the NDA which will bring about resilient and active communities who come to own a stake in the economy through the cooperative model. We believe NDA is the correct partner, through shared frameworks and ideologies, to bring to life the cooperative model which allows for involvement and ownership by communities to take control of their capabilities and livelihoods,” says Mr Veit Gesenhues, DGRV Southern Region Director.

In closing, the NDA Board Chairperson, Ms Nozabelo Ruth Bhengu welcomed the signing and remarked that it is a significant moment for the NDA, sector and country. “This partnership is in line with the NDA’s turnaround strategy to get more people in jobs and active within the mainstream economy. South Africa remains highly unequal, poverty is a result of the economy not being shared equally. It is our fundamental task to ensure inclusion of the previously isolated to participate and derive sustainable livelihoods within the existing economy. DGRV’s vast experience will assist the NDA to execute this mandate and make a remarkable difference in reaching poverty eradication goals.”    


Issued by National Development Agency

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