Bankers discuss cooperation on eve of UN International Year of Cooperatives

04 Jul 2024

In an effort to renew cooperation with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association (collectively known as the World Bank), a delegation of cooperative bankers and friends of cooperative financial institutions (CFIs) visited the World Bank Group building in Washington DC on 5 June. They met with World Bank officials to discuss future collaborations, including the development of strategic actions for the UN International Year of Cooperatives 2025 (UN-IYC).

At the meeting, the World Bank described its work with cooperatives on regulatory reform and institutional development in several countries in the Global South.

Cooperators agreed with the World Bank on the importance of ensuring appropriate regulations for cooperatives that protect the common cooperative identity of CFIs. Mr Bhima Subrahmanyam, President of the International Cooperative Banking Association (ICBA), described the ICBA's 2019 studies on regulations and the sustainability of CFIs. The World Bank informed the meeting that it works closely with a large number of cooperatives, which are not fully mapped, adding that this would be a fruitful exercise to undertake. The organisation also congratulated the cooperative delegation on the UN proclamation of IYC, adding that it intends to co-organise activities to mark the occasion.

The meeting agreed to explore the potential for deeper collaboration in six key areas, including climate action (SDG-13), gender equality (SDG-5), digitalisation, mobilising private capital and impact investment, and creating a positive impact on peacebuilding in conflict-affected areas. 

World Bank delegates highlighted the institutions’s interest in working to promote and advance cooperatives, given the resilience and inclusiveness the cooperative business model has demonstrated over the years, particularly during the 2008 global recession. The meeting also agreed on the state’s essential role in the promotion of cooperatives, while respecting the 4th principle of the European Union (the rule of law).

The meeting concluded with the promising positioning of cooperatives in the next Financing for Development Conference to be held in Madrid, Spain, in 2025, and an invitation from NCBA-CLUSA to the Bank to host the next Cooperative Impact Conference and Cooperatives of the Americas Board Meeting in October 2024.


ICBA in NCBA squared


The cooperative delegation was led by Mr Bhima Subrahmanyam, President of the International Cooperative Banking Association (ICBA), and included Mr K. Ravinder Rao, President of the National Federation of State Cooperative Banks (India) and Mr Kabir A. Tukur, Group CEO, CMB Nigeria. Both Mr Rao and Mr Tukur are members of the ICBA Board of Directors. The delegation was joined by Mr Doug O'Brien, President and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association - Cooperative League of the USA [NCBA-CLUSA], Ms Mary Griffin, Executive Director of the Cooperative Development Foundation, Mr Danilo Salerno, Director of the Cooperative of the Americas, and Mr P. Santosh Kumar, ICA Legislative Director.

The World Bank was represented by Mr Niraj Verma, Practice Manager, Long Term Finance; Ms Veronica Trugrillo and Ms Fatou Fadika, Financial Sector Specialists; Ms Eva Gutirrez, Lead Financial Economist in the Latin American and Caribbean Region of the World Bank; Mr Juan Buchenau, Senior Financial Sector Specialist and Mr Toshiaki Ono Senior Financial Sector Specialist who facilitated the meeting. Mr Ono had participated in the ICBA Centenary celebrations in Brussels, Belgium in November 2022.

Photo: ICBA delegation at the World Bank in Washington



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