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The Co-Operative Reform Process In Tanzania And Sri Lanka


  • Johnston Birchall
  • Richard Simmons


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. Copyright © 2010 The Authors Journal compilation © CIRIEC 2010.

Suggested Citation

  • Johnston Birchall & Richard Simmons, 2010. "The Co-Operative Reform Process In Tanzania And Sri Lanka," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(3), pages 467-500, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:annpce:v:81:y:2010:i:3:p:467-500

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    Cited by:

    1. Johnston Birchall, 2013. "The potential of co-operatives during the current recession; theorizing comparative advantage," Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises, vol. 2(1), pages 1-22, May.

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