South Sudan launches National Cooperatives Strategy
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperatives and Rural Development, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), convened a national conference on 23 May at Regency Hotel in Juba to launch the first South Sudan Cooperatives Strategy, coinciding with the country’s marking of the UN International Year of Cooperatives.
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socioeconomic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.
UN partners, including UNDP supported the Government in the development of the cooperatives strategy, which aims to promote rural development and inclusive growth in South Sudan with the hope of creating viable, sustainable and local economies.
In the opening remarks, George Conway, UNDP Country Director, a.i. congratulated the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperatives and Rural Development and its partners, on finalizing and launching the National Strategy for Cooperative Development. He explained the importance of this strategy “With a comprehensive national strategic framework in place, cooperatives in South Sudan can grow into enterprises that are viable, sustainable, entrepreneurial, autonomous and independent, and can provide strong livelihoods and employment opportunities for the people of the new nation.”
Honourable Bedi Machar Deng, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperative and Rural Development underscored that “the future of South Sudan depends on agriculture which should be subsidized with oil money and not the reverse.” In order for the agriculture sector to generate more revenue, the Minister emphasized the “need to form modern cooperatives to transform South Sudan economy to a market economy.” Honourable Michael Tongun Martin, State Minister of Cooperatives in Central Equatoria state also stressed the importance of cooperatives in poverty reduction and the need to facilitate lines of credit for agricultural services.
In attendance were also the representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment; Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports; Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare; Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning; Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Development as well as state level directors of cooperatives and community development, youth and women.