To build a more equal world, we need a renewed emphasis on co-operative development

We know that co-operatives can help to deliver a fairer global economy, which is why under the next Labour government, DfID will make place a new emphasis on developing and supporting co-operative enterprises around the world.


Divine Fairtrade Chocolate is 44% owned by Kuapa Kookoo, a cocoa farmers' co-operative in Ghana . Kuapa Kokoo has over 80,000 members, 35% of which are women, and produces around 6% of Ghana’s cocoa

In the very busy year since 2017 General Election I have become a Shadow Minister within the Shadow International Development team.

It is an important area of Government policy with the potential to positively affect the lives of millions around the world. Within this role I have been pressing the Government on the use of DfID funding of ‘for profit’ education, displacement within Bangladesh and DRC and the Rohingya crisis.

In contrast to the current Government’s International Development’s agenda, the publication of the Labour Party’s Green Paper, A world for the many not the few offers a genuinely radical new approach to International Development which will help ensure that this country holds a progressive, outward-looking, global view, driven by social justice and human rights.

Our Green Paper outlines our vision which seeks to serve the twin goals of reducing poverty and inequality. Labour will deliver on five key and connected priorities:

  1. A fairer global economy
  2. A global movement for public services
  3. A feminist approach to development
  4. Building peace and preventing conflict
  5. Action for climate justice and ecology

The World Inequality Report 2018 said that ‘economic inequality is largely driven by unequal ownership of capital’. Our policy is clear that co-operative development is one way to disperse economic ownership.

It is therefore particularly disappointing that even the word ‘co-operative’ does not exist within the Department’s last annual report, nor in their Economic Development strategy.

In contrast I look forward to promoting our policy, which places new emphasis on DfID’s role in co-operative development as an important tool to deliver our key priority of developing a fairer global economy.

Our vision is also clear that we wholeheartedly back the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a progressive route to building a fairer world. Therefore it is fantastic to see that co-operatives worldwide are playing an important role in supporting and delivering upon these goals.

As the International Co-operative Alliance has outlined, co-operatives by their very nature play a triple role:

  • As economic actors they create opportunities for jobs, livelihoods and income generation.
  • As people-centered enterprises with social goals they contribute to social equity and justice.
  • As democratic institutions, they are controlled by their members, playing a leading role in society and local communities.

It is clear that co-operatives and co-operation are important tools for us in delivering a world for the many and not the few and I look forward to continuing to play my role in their promotion.’