Building the Managerial Capital of Agricultural Cooperatives in Africa

19 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2019

See all articles by Gian Nicola Francesconi

Gian Nicola Francesconi

Committee of Sustainable Assessment (COSA)

Fleur Wouterse

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Date Written: March 2019


Agricultural cooperatives in Africa tend to be community‐based organizations defined by principles of inclusion, voluntarism, democracy, equity, autonomy, mutuality and solidarity. This means that they generally operate in accordance with the principles endorsed by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). However, only a few of these organizations are successful in commercializing the agricultural produce of their members. In this study, we argue that growth‐problems leading to commercial failure and organizational degeneration in these cooperatives can be attributed to a lack of managerial capital. Drawing on the literature and evidence from the field we set out key management solutions for counterbalancing cooperative principles in the context of rural Africa. These solutions were taught to the leaders and managers of 362 cooperatives at four training events held in Madagascar, Malawi and twice in Uganda. Using a production function for cognitive achievement and key informant interviews, we find that our training contributed to the adoption of the proposed solutions by some of the cooperatives. Using the Ugandan sub‐ sample, we estimate an OLS regression and a PSM model to show that the training translated into higher revenues per member generated through collective commercialization.

Keywords: Africa, agriculture, cooperatives

JEL Classification: Q13, I26, C21

Suggested Citation

Francesconi, Gian Nicola and Wouterse, Fleur, Building the Managerial Capital of Agricultural Cooperatives in Africa (March 2019). Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Vol. 90, Issue 1, pp. 141-159, 2019, Available at SSRN: or

Gian Nicola Francesconi (Contact Author)

Committee of Sustainable Assessment (COSA) ( email )


Fleur Wouterse

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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