International news round-up 4 – 17 June

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Spain

The number of co-operatives in Spain has continued to grow, with the country seeing a 23% increase in the number of worker co-operatives created in 2013 compared to the previous year. According to figures released by the Spanish Labour Ministry, 733 worker co-operatives formed in 2012, while last year the number reached 950.

“Once again these figures prove that co-operatives preserve jobs,” said Antonio Pedreño, President of the Spanish Confederation of Worker Cooperatives (COCETA).

The Labour Ministry also confirmed that between 2007 and 2013, co-operatives closed less businesses and created more jobs than other types of enterprise. In 2013 alone, co-operatives created 3,632 jobs, accounting for 48.74% of the total, while in the region of Andalucia, over 84% of jobs created last year were generated by worker co-operatives.

El Salvador

Young co-operative leaders from El Salvador met with representatives of Co-operatives of the Americas to discuss potential areas of collaboration. The meeting took place on 8 May and brought together youth representatives from Salvadoran credit unions, who shared their experiences related to youth policy implementation.

The Co-operatives of the Americas’ regional youth board also hosted its board meeting at the event, where they discussed amending the bylaws of the Youth Committee and the sixth video conference of youth from across the region, which will take place on 12 July.

Carlos Medrano (Dominican Republic), president of the regional youth committee of Co-operatives of the Americas, said: “The aim of the event was to see how the youth of El Salvador was doing and what the Committee could do to support the Federation of Savings and Credit Cooperatives of El Salvador (FEDECACES). We also spoke about the committee and its history, and its role within Co-operatives of the Americas.”

Kenya

The Africa Region of the International Co-operative Alliance hosted a three-day forum in Kenya, which gathered government officials, co-operative leaders and managers from across the continent. Participants from Uganda, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania and Nigeria were joined at the two events by representatives from the International Labour Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Delegates at the event looked at how to maximise the potential for co-operative development and also assessed the mid-term progress made since the last Co-operative Ministerial Conference held in 2012. They recommended increasing autonomy and strengthening co-operatives across Africa through the establishment of working groups to oversee the development of an Africa Co-operative Bank and continental co-operative sectorial organisations such as an Africa Co-operative Agricultural Organisation, Africa Co-operative Housing Organisation and Africa Research, or a Gender and Youth Committee.

International

Representatives from health organisations worldwide took part in this year’s Health Forum in Geneva. At the event, which is organised every two years, delegates from health co-operatives hosted a session on the role of co-operatives and mutuals in organising healthcare.

The session was moderated by Jean-Pierre Girard, international health co-operative specialist at the International Summit of Co-operatives. The workshop was co-hosted by the International Summit of Co-operatives and featured contributions from international health experts, including Dr. Rüdiger Kerch of the World Health Organization.

According to the International Health Co-operative Organisation, co-operatives and mutuals provide healthcare services to over 100 million households worldwide. The workshops touched upon banking for health, health co-operatives in different regions and the positive role of co-operative and mutual insurers in healthcare.

Australia

An Australian dairy co-operative has increased pay for its farmers, who will become the best paid in the country.

Norco, a dairy co-operative from northern New South Wales, announced recently that it would pay its suppliers three cents a litre more from July. Last month Norco signed a new exports deal to China. The co-operative, which was set up in 1895 by Australian farmers, had a total business revenue of AUS $370m (£205m) last year.

Norco chief executive officer Brett Kelly said: “We have put in roughly a cent in this financial year, and then when you add on the three for next year, that’s four cents. That equates to in dollars around $8 million of net profit.”

International

The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) has announced this year’s recipients of the Global Women’s Leadership Network scholarship. Six women from Azerbaijan, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Thailand and the USA have been awarded a scholarship which will enable them to take part in the sixth annual Global Leadership Forum (26-27 July) and World Credit Union Conference (27-30 July) in Gold Coast, Australia. They will be joining another 100 women from credit union movement from 13 different countries and take part in sessions aimed at growing their business knowledge  and professional relations.

Brian Branch, president and chief executive of WOCCU, said: “This year the Network is taking another step forward in supporting international women’s leadership by selecting and participating in the implementation of field programs that credit union women lead in their communities”.

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Anca Voinea About Anca Voinea

Anca focuses on international news – and with French, Spanish and Romanian languages under her belt, this is an important area of growth for the news. In addition to writing general news, Anca's specialisms include politics and sport.