The US Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) has written to US president Donald Trump highlighting why co-ops should keep their important role in the country’s foreign policy.
OCDC brings together organisations committed to promoting co-operatives and sustainable international co-operative development.
Its members are ACDI/VOCA, Cooperative Resources International, Global Communities, HealthPartners, Land O’Lakes International Development, NCBA CLUSA, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the World Council of Credit Unions.
The letter, sent to the administration a few days before Trump’s inauguration, aims to introduce the president and his team to the on-going work and achievements of OCDC and its members. It adds that the co-operative system has played a “significant role” in the development of the US economy.
The policy paper mentions five reasons why co-ops should stay on the foreign policy agenda. It says the use of US co-operatives overseas is based on the conviction that the co-operative business model can help poor and low-income people in developing countries achieve a better way of life.
Through its members, the OCDC is working on multi-year projects in more than 70 countries, helping to set up co-ops that enable 5.8 million members to access services.
Related: What will Donald Trump do for co-operatives?
The organisation adds that international co-operative development is sustainable, promotes grassroots democracy and alleviates poverty. Members have worked with the US government on international development projects for over 40 years. The approach is cost-effective, argues the OCDC, and by fostering economic stability the US government is also building political stability.
Paul Hazen, OCDC’s executive director, said: “One of our strengths that should catch the attention of the new administration is our focus on public-private partnerships to cost-effectively achieve sustainable international development results.”
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