n Africa Insight - Do co-operative development policies really lead to the development of co-operatives? Lessons from Kenya

Volume 41, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


This article assesses how Kenyan co-operative policies contribute to the development of co-operatives as viable business enterprises and autonomous democratic organisations. The article identifies three policy phases that have guided co-operative development over four decades. Policy engagement with co-operatives was described as paternalistic, laissez-faire and facilitative over this period. It is argued that paternalistic policies stunt the development of co-operatives while laissez-faire policies neglect it. Facilitative policies promote co-operative development through consultation and targeted involvement. The article concludes with lessons on the interdependence of government policies, the role of government as arbiter, and an institutional support role for donors.

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