Donald Trump government urged to back co-ops in overseas development

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 organisation wrote to the new administration explaining its role
The organisation wrote to the new administration explaining its role

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.”