Africa Agenda is excited to be the fiscal sponsor of the recently launched international development organization, Africa Development Promise, as it seeks nonprofit status.
Founded in 2013, the organization facilitates the growth and development of agricultural cooperatives that leads to sustainable livelihoods and wealth creation.
With seven out of 10 of the world’s fastest growing economies coming from Africa, the region is not only dynamic, but one that holds a lot of economic potential for the world. Urbanization, increased demand for raw materials, commodity prices, foreign investment and rising incomes have fueled faster growth in domestic demand.
While this is the case, there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Though we celebrate the progress of these countries, growth has not been evenly distributed.
Approximately 62 percent of poor people living in rural communities have been left behind as attention gravitates to urban centers.
Africa Development Promise addresses the rural poverty issues in three countries —Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.
“We have to meet people where they are, providing the proper context and support that allows them to be successful. Since agriculture is a way of life in Africa, we start there by helping subsistence farmers pool their resources together to increase crop yield and income while also increasing their power to buy, sell and market their product,” says Monica LaBiche Brown, Executive Director of Africa Development Promise.
“We strongly believe that when families have a sustained income, they can make better life choices, such as education for their children, food, clothing, housing, water and sanitation.”
Functional cooperatives show promise in Africa because they are a different way of doing business – operating as small social businesses that if built on a solid foundation can be the engine that drives local economies.
In the best scenario, they are structured to balance the needs of their members and the welfare of the community with a goal of increasing profit. Cooperatives empower members by promoting self-help, self-responsibility and the principles of democracy, inclusion and solidarity. Unlike conventional businesses, cooperatives offer all their members an equal stake and share the responsibility during good times or hardships—one member, one vote.
As a result, the risk to individual members is reduced and instead placed on the enterprise. Furthermore, history has shown that cooperatives have played the important role of supporting people in the now developed world move out of poverty.
Agricultural Cooperatives or Associations have been around in rural Africa for years but their rate of success has been dismal not because they haven’t made an effort but because they lack the know-how, skills, equipment, and much more, to run a successful cooperative.
Africa Development Promise addresses many of these gaps, including the following, developing governance, management and leadership capacity; building human resource and technical capacity; strengthening cooperative networks; providing access to finance; and helping cooperatives understand the value chain and addressing challenges in it.
As you think about the issues which impact future growth and development in Africa, we encourage you to visit the Africa Development Promise website and support the very bold move they have made.