Brief context and justification of PCC programmes

As a framework for the fight against poverty through cooperative entrepreneurship, the PCC is a bipartisan organization for the promotion of cooperatives bringing together States and the African cooperative movement.

Since its creation, the PCC endowed itself with a human resources development instrument for the promotion of cooperative development, namely, the Pan-African Cooperative Training Centre (CPFC) which later became the Higher Pan-African Institute of Cooperative Economics (ISPEC) in 1993 and the African University for Cooperative Development (AUCD) in 2009. In addition to the thousands of cooperative actors who have passed through this institution, this university has trained and made available to member countries as of 2011 more than 600 senior and middle class executive personnel of both sexes, 40% of whom are women. Such trained persons constitute high quality resources who are highly appreciated by the organizations and governments that use them. Some of them occupy higher positions of responsibility in government and in bilateral or multilateral cooperation agencies. Others are in charge of national or international NGOs or consultancy firms. From the standpoint of the size of these human resources with respect to the needs in the field, it is observed that the number of senior executive staff still in active service is far below the needs expressed on the field in all areas of cooperative development.

If this deficiency in coaching staff and the need for closer technical support to cooperatives does not appear as a priority concern of member countries, it is because the States until now had not yet been convinced of the role and place of cooperatives in poverty reduction. Also, international financial institutions including the World Bank gave the pride of place to direct financing of the States within the framework of their support to development. The lacklustre results obtained through this modus operandi led partners during the third decade of independence, to focus on direct support to grassroot organizations. This support was mostly directed to organizations in the agricultural sector even though huge opportunities exist in other areas and could, if properly identified and followed up, make a significant contribution to job creation and poverty alleviation strategies. In this vein, we may mention notably, thrift and loan, handicraft and housing cooperative societies, health cooperative and mutual organisations, workers’ cooperatives to mention just a few experiences. From the mid-90s, the most obvious observation was the generalised spread of poverty in Africa to become a pandemic, especially among rural and semi-urban populations. This situation led the PCC to conduct an analysis of the economic, social and cultural environment of the African people in the face of rampant poverty. This enabled the PCC to design and adopt from the year 2000 till today, three overall programmes which in turn have generated subsequent implementation programmes.