The co-operative reform process in Tanzania and Sri Lanka



Birchall J & Simmons R (2010) The co-operative reform process in Tanzania and Sri Lanka. Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 81 (3), pp. 467-500.

This article reports on findings from a three year study of co-operatives in Sri Lanka and Tanzania. The article asks three questions: why do co-operative sectors need reforming; what is the co-operative reform process; and why has reform succeeded in some countries but not others? It provides a short history of co-operatives in three phases: the colonial period, the post-colonial nationalist period and the period of market liberalisation. It shows that the control exercised by colonial governments was deepened under nationalist governments, with co-operatives becoming parastatals. Liberalisation brought a sustained attempt by international agencies to reassert the distinctive nature of co-operatives as member-owned businesses. However, co-ops were ill-prepared to adjust to a competitive market and the lifting of government regulation; many failed, some were corrupted, while a few became truly member-controlled. The article draws on documentary analysis and key informant interviews to provide accounts of the reform process in Tanzania and Sri Lanka. It finds that the process is incomplete and often contested.

Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics: Volume 81, Issue 3

Publication date30/09/2010

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Professor Richard Simmons

Professor Richard Simmons

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology