In 2007 the Law N° 50/2007 of 18/09/2007 (Law N° 50, 2007) determining the establishment, organization and functioning of cooperative organizations in Rwanda, was enacted to provide for the establishment, organization and functioning of cooperative organizations in Rwanda. Besides, in 2013, the Law n° 48/2013 of 28/06/2013 (Law N° 48, 2013) was enacted to establish the Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA) and determine its mission, organization and functions.
In addition, there are instructions of 2018 regulating interventions of stakeholders/partners in the development of the cooperative sector, and those of 2013 prescribing the Code of Conduct for members of governing organs of cooperatives and their senior executives
From the view of ICA contributing member organizations, The Government of Rwanda has put in place a conducive environment for the development of the cooperative movement in recognition of its contribution to the attainment of national development goals for economic and social transformation. The institutional framework for the cooperative movement in Rwanda is designed to enable cooperatives to operate efficiently, effectively and sustainably.
Both the National Policy on Cooperatives of 2018 and the Law N° 50, 2007 on cooperatives recognize cooperatives in line with the cooperative values and principles as proclaimed by the International Cooperative Alliance.
Key recommendations for improvement
The following recommendations are made for the improvement of the national legal framework:
- The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM) should embark on addressing management and corruption challenges which undermine the development of cooperatives in Rwanda. The Ministry and the Rwanda Cooperative Agency should perform their oversight roles more regularly and rigorously.
- There is a need to strengthen the current coordination system to avoid duplication of cooperatives within the sector and ensure adequate representation and advocacy roles.
- Encouraging and ensuring cooperation among cooperatives will strengthen the capacity of cooperatives to grow.
- There is a need to improve mechanisms of accountability.
In conclusion, cooperatives in Rwanda operate according to the law guided by the cooperative values and principles. Cooperatives are organized into Unions, Federations and Confederations which allow them to achieve their common goals.
Cooperatives were severely affected by the 1994 Genocide. Nevertheless, since 2005 the Government of Rwanda has been taking measures to revamp the state of cooperatives. Such measures include putting in place revival mechanisms such as establishment of the Task force in charge of promoting the cooperative movement to facilitate the development of cooperatives.
The government recognizes the contribution of cooperatives in socioeconomic development through employment creation and payment of taxes. Moreover, members of cooperatives can easily access loans from savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) at subsidized interest rates