Short introduction to German co-operatives.

Essay by Witek November 2004

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Nowadays, German co-operatives impart their experience, accumulated over more than a hundred years, all over the world. Drawing on their international experience they are able to support BMZ (Ministry of economical Co-operation and Development) and Ministry of Finance especially with the improvement projects, recently also taking place in the developing countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Nowadays every fifth German is a member of a co-operative. In the entire country there are over seven and a half thousand of such voluntary co-operations. By law there are only seven members required in order to form a co-operative. Their purpose is to support the private financial interest of an individual member through lending of particular services: regional, possibly even worldwide marketing of their products for some or settlement of the banking matters for others. In other words: co-operatives give small enterprises, firms and businesses sufficient help to allow them in their business lives to hold their ground in the face of competition.