Sector Strategy in brief

To achieve the above set objectives this policy document highlights a number of strategies that have been formulated on the basis of the identified objectives in order to surmount constraints reflected in the current context of the Rwandan cooperative movement.

To Facilitate a Gradual Disengagement By The State.
To achieve a gradual disengagement by the State, the management autonomy of cooperatives and their independence will be protected through the creation of a Cooperative Authority. However the State will
continue to play its regulatory role. To exercise its rightful role the Authority will be expected to promote an economically vibrant and autonomous cooperative movement through institutional capacity building, provision of extension services and assisting them to develop alongside other commercial enterprises.

To Updating the Policy and Legal Framework.
In order to guarantee a favourable management and legislative environment in the cooperative movement, the government will encourage the process of participative law making through organizing forums where cooperatives will exchange views and discuss and agree on the appropriate cooperative legislation that enhances good corporate governance.

To encourage and enhance decentralization and community development policies.

Cooperatives will take advantage of the national decentralization policy by encouraging the community to form cooperatives that address their felt needs at the grass root level and manage them according to policies and regulations befitting their local
development. Further cooperatives will be encouraged to initiate Area Development Programmes with clear goals and objectives. Such programmes will be used to seek for cooperative development financial assistance from donors and other development partners. Equally cooperatives be expected to benefit from the Common Development Fund that allocate funds to the districts for various identified community
projects.

To Exempt Cooperatives From Taxation System.
Cooperatives as vehicles of poverty alleviation will from time to time enjoy some fiscal benefits in terms of tax exemption. To this end cooperatives will be encouraged to undertake their operations and
transactions in a transparent and accountable manner. This will be reflected through regular audits and negotiating with the relevant authorities on any tax exemptions.

To Ensuring Cooperatives Benefit From Regional and International Integration.
In addition to north-south cooperation, the government will endeavor to develop and promote cordial relations with cooperative movements in the countries and institutions in the sub-region as well as the global world. Special attention will be paid especially in the fields of training of the public personnel involved in the promotion and supervision of cooperatives, members of the board of directors, employees of the cooperative movement and the general membership. Efforts will also be made to ensure the movement adopt and practice modern information technology. These strategy measures will be carried out through meetings, exchange visits, workshops and seminars and symposiums among other available forums and training programme.

To set up ICT standards.
Information and Communication Technology is an important tool of modern cooperative business. IC various channels will be installed to establish links between cooperatives and markets and expertise will be provided to support software development to be used within cooperative movement.

Integrating Research, Cooperative Information, Education and Training in Schools and University Programs and Curricula.
The lack of application of cooperative theories and techniques at all levels in the country results in poor understanding and comprehension of the cooperatives concept. In order to address this problem and other related shortfalls, cooperative theory and practice would be taught and encouraged in schools, technical colleges as well as at university level. This integration will enhance the cooperative entrepreneurial spirit. To achieve this object collaboration and consultation between the ministries in charge of cooperatives development and education and related training institutions will be encouraged.

Institutionnalisation The Cooperative Concept.

Cooperatives are private organizations that are founded on the cooperative values and principles. The principles advocate for open and voluntary membership, democratic member control, member
economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training and information, cooperation among cooperatives and concern for community. To create awareness to the stakeholders and institutionalize the
cooperative concept efforts will be made to organize cooperative education and training and dissemination of cooperative information to all levels of the cooperative movement.

Evaluation, Restructuring and Forming New Cooperatives.
This policy document paves the way for the promotion of new cooperative movement in Rwanda. The current crop of cooperatives will therefore be required to restructure their institutional framework and operations so as to conform with the requirements of the this policy paper. To attain the fore going members will be encouraged through awareness creation to review the structure and operations of the cooperatives by carrying out economic and financial viability studies and revising and amemnding By-Laws to facilitate formation of new cooperatives.

The emerging cooperatives through needs analysis will be encouraged to form sector based cooperative unions, federations and confederations. These secondary cooperatives institutions will utilize
economies of scale to support and provide specialized services that the primary cooperatives cannot provide to their members and not otherwise to compete against each other.

Diversification of activities.
Majority of the cooperative societies in the country are Savings and Credit Societies which reflect a skewed development of cooperatives, To change this scenario the government and other development partners will
endeavor to create awareness through public forums to urge the population to diversify the types and nature of cooperatives and their activities to cover both the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
To build confidence in formation other types of cooperatives and acquire knowledge on their operations study visits and exchange of experiences within the region and outside will be enhanced.

To encourage Local Resource Mobilization.

To service the needs of the members efficiently and effectively the cooperative movement will need to review its current strategies of resource mobilization. There is need to a large extend to mobilize own local finances instead of depending on external funding. To cultivate and inculcate this culture to the general membership of the cooperative movement and other interested stakeholders awareness and education on the importance and benefits of financial resource mobilization to the members, the cooperatives as business institutions and the country in general will be imparted on a continuous basis. Further the cooperatives as well as their members will be encouraged to seek for new income generating ventures that add value to the general income of the members.

To encourage National and International Cooperation
Primary, secondary and tertiary cooperatives will need to increasingly explore areas of collaboration and networking in terms of exchange of experiences among themselves through periodic meetings, study visits, workshops, seminars and symposiums, commercial and trade fairs and exchanges locally and externally.

To encourage Active Participation of Marginalized Groups
It is observed that the marginalized groups of our population that include women, youth, physically challenged members of the community and the demobilized solders among others are not active members of the cooperative movement. To interest this group to join the movement, efforts will be made through sensitization programmes, research on new areas that they can benefit from, exchange of experiences, affirmative action, provision of skills and gender balance. Other strategies will include reduction of the age limit for youth to become members of cooperatives, carrying out surveys and studies to identify and determine income generating activities that are suitable for the physically challenged in which to promote and form cooperatives for their own benefits.