Cape Town: India, China and South Africa have signed two separate Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) to boost trade, investment and capacity-building initiatives amongst cooperatives in three countries.
The South African National Apex Cooperative (SANACO) signed the agreements with cooperatives umbrella bodies at the 3rd BRICS Cooperative Meeting that ended in Cape Town yesterday.
SANACO President Lawrence Bale said cooperatives in South Africa have benefited hugely from the two-day meeting hosted by the Department of Trade under the theme Partnerships for Development, Integration and Industrialisation Through Cooperatives.
"Deliberations centred on critical and strategic issues that affect cooperatives in these countries. Top of the list was promoting trade, investment and collaboration amongst cooperatives in the BRICS countries," Bale said.
"We also intensely discussed and reached consensus on issues related to collaboration on capacity building and ensuring that cooperatives are sustainable," said Mr Bale.
The Deputy Director-General of Broadening Participation at the Department, Sipho Zikode, said he was optimistic that the resolutions of the summit would lead to opening of markets for cooperatives in the BRICS countries and lead to sustainable trade amongst them.
"In my opinion, the South African cooperatives benefitted more than those from other countries," Zikode said.
"We learnt that cooperatives in these countries are highly developed and are operating at the high end of the value chain in various sectors. They contribute significantly to their Gross Domestic Products of their countries, while ours are still at an entry, SMME and micro levels," he said.
Zikode said that the deliberations that have taken place on aspects such as skills transfer, capacity building and infrastructure development will go a long way in improving the development of cooperatives in various countries.