The new prime minister of Nepal has pledged his support for co-operatives in the country.
Talking to the Indian Cooperative news website, Khadga Prasad Oli said he believed in the power of co-operatives. He said he felt that poor countries must adopt the co-operative model in order to develop. Because co-operatives are inclusive to all, they can reach those people lowest down the economic scale.
He added that once the new government was installed properly, he would prioritise co-operatives as one of the important tools for developing the nation.
Mr Oli said he was inspired by the way co-operatives rallied around to aid Nepal after April’s devastating earthquake, which killed more than 9,000 people. For example, International Co-operative Alliance regional director Balu Aiyer visited areas affected by the quake. The Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) called an emergency meeting to pack trucks of relief material, sent from its headquarters in Delhi.
Nepal has a thriving co-operative movement, with around 31,000 primary co-operatives and 18 co-operative unions affiliated to the National Cooperative Federation of Nepal (NCFN). The position of co-ops within government has been further strengthened by the fact that the chair of the NCFN is Keshav Prasad Badal, a member of Mr Oli’s party.
Oli, the first prime minister elected under Nepal’s new constitution, is the leader of the Communist Party of Nepal and has previously served as deputy prime minister.
In 2008 the Nepalese monarchy was abolished after 240 years of rule, led by protests from the Communist Party. In its place, a federal multiparty republic was established but failed to create a constitution. Now a new constitution has finally been established, with Mr Oli at the helm of government and co-operatives placed centre stage.