Malawi Federation of Cooperative (MAFECO) is planning to establish a cooperative college that will among others bridge the knowledge gap.
The college which will be the first of this kind in the country and the whole of the Southern African region will offer courses on business and cooperative management, finance and auditing and many more.
Mafeco National Coordinator, Charles Kayesa said Malawi has a great potential to develop if the concept of cooperatives could be taken seriously.
He cited lack of proper information; knowledge and human capacity were some of the challenges that contributed to the slow growth and adaptation of cooperative movement in the country.
“Many of our friends in eastern region and beyond have been able to develop through cooperatives. Their growth however has been necessitated by the existence of cooperative colleges.
“We can do the same in Malawi but first we need a vibrant cooperative movement as well as a well-established college,” he said.
Keyesa said beside enrolling fresh students, the college shall also offer opportunity to members of various cooperatives in the country on how best to run their groupings.
“Many cooperatives have been formed but managing them is a big challenge, therefore the college will be an answer to this,” he explained.
Ministry of Education Science and Technology has since hailed Mafeco describing the university an opportunity for Malawi to have a vibrant cooperative movement.
Spokesperson for Ministry of Education, Lindiwe Chide said Malawi as a country was not doing well on issues of cooperatives and financial literacy due to knowledge gap.
She noted the cooperative college as a solution to the challenge.
“This is a welcome development and as government we will support Mafeco and ensure that the college is established and meet the education standards.
“We are sure that the university will develop programmes that are relevant so that when students graduate they should be able to find jobs both in government and the private sector,” Chide explained.
Apart from introducing the college, Mafeco is also discussing with the government on the need to have a department specifically for cooperatives within the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Wiskes Mkombezi said a department of Cooperatives and Small Enterprises was already in existence but there is need to scale up support.
“The current view of the ministry is to resource the current department with enough human resources, ICT and enough financial resources to enable it reach out to all cooperatives,” he said.
On the establishment of the cooperative university, Mkombezi concurred with Chide describing it as a welcome gesture urging the government machinery to support it.
“We have always said both government and the private sector have a role to play in developing the cooperative sector in Malawi, the Cooperative University is a great move,” he explained.
Manager of Mwandama Cooperative Union in Zomba, Bornwell Kaunga commended Mafeco for the yet to be introduced university which he said would help to groom cooperative members on how best manage their affairs as well as promote growth of the cooperative movement in the country.
“This is what we have been waiting for. With the introduction of the university, we are assured of a bright future,” he said in brief.
Mafeco is an apex body of cooperatives in the country and was registered in 2015.
Apart from many plans, Mafeco also wants to establish a cooperative bank.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :