African cooperative leaders explore the diverse businesses of Japanese cooperatives

From 29 August to 6 September, The 8th ILO/JCCU study tour was organized in Tokyo and Shizuoka, Japan. This year four participants from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Swaziland and representatives of ICA Africa and ILO COOP Unit joined the tour to explore the Japanese cooperatives’ activities across a range of sectors.

News | 21 September 2017
Since 2010, the ILO through its Cooperative Unit (COOP) and its Office for Japan (ILO Tokyo) has organized study tours to Japan for African cooperative leaders in close cooperation with the Japanese Consumers’ Cooperative Union (JCCU). The study tour was originally launched as a part of activities of CoopAfrica, a technical cooperation programme for the promotion of cooperative development in Africa. The objective of the study tour is to support human resource development through learning from the diverse businesses and the strong membership-based management of Japanese cooperatives. From 2010 to 2016, seven study tours have been organized with total of 30 cooperative leaders from nine African countries. This year cooperative leaders from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Swaziland participated, while Ms Sifa Chiyoge, Regional Director of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) Regional Office for Africa, and Ms Simel Esim and Ms Mina Waki from ILO COOP also joined the tour for the first time.

At JA Shimizu Office
During the first days of the study tour participants visited the following cooperative organizations to learn the background of Japanese cooperative movement and their businesses in agriculture, retail, medical care, healthcare, childcare, elderly care, insurance and banking.
JA Shimizu farmland generation project
JA Shimizu rose farmer
Consumer coop delivery service
Worker coop members at a childcare facility

On 5 September, ILO and Japan Joint Committee of Co-operatives (JJC) organized a public seminar as a wrap-up of the study tour which brought together 50 participants including officials from the embassies of Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda and international cooperation organizations in Japan. At the beginning of the seminar, ILO and Alliance Africa presented their work and activities on cooperatives. Then the four African cooperative leaders presented their own cooperatives and lessons learnt from the study tour. A participant from Kenya said “One of the lessons from the Japanese cooperative movement is the importance of partnerships with other organizations. I would like to enhance cooperatives’ competitiveness through strengthening the basis of the cooperative movement in my country”. The detailed reports from every participants is available here on this website.
Group photo at the public seminar

ILO will continue to collaborate with Japanese cooperative movement in supporting cooperative development in Africa.