Key figures

Number of cooperatives per sector
Key figures
Key figures

Research overview

Responding to challenges and existing knowledge gaps facing the cooperative movement, this mapping research seeks to provide exhaustive information on cooperatives worldwide. This is achieved through a process jointly conducted by the ICA and its four regional offices – Cooperatives of the Americas, Cooperatives Europe, ICA Africa, and ICA Asia-Pacific – using a common methodology. Each office collected the input of ICA members present in the countries within its geographic area, by using the same questionnaire, and completing it with relevant national statistics, in order to obtain an accurate picture of the national situation. Mapping out cooperatives in each country provides a more precise picture of the cooperative context at national and regional levels, enhances the movement's visibility, networking, partnerships opportunities, as well as advocacy, and empowers cooperators by providing them tools for positive change.

This webpage presents a snapshot of the key figures research results for Ethiopia. For more information and the full research results, you can download the full report and highlights using the links above.



Ethiopians have a long history of working together by practicing cooperative-like institutions which we call cultural cooperatives. Traditional cooperatives associations existed in the form of iqub and idir. Iqub is an association of people having common objectives of mobilizing resources, especially finance, and distributing it to members on rotating basis. Idir is an association of people that have the objective of providing social and economic insurance for the members in the events of death, accident, damages to property, among others. In the case of a funeral, Idir serves as funeral insurance where community members elect their leaders, contribute resources either in kind or in cash and support the mourning member. There were also initiatives for labour resource mobilization that were to overcome seasonal labour peaks, known as "Jigie”, “Wonfel”, among others.

The history of formal or Modern types of cooperative development in Ethiopia started in the Era of Emperor Haile Selassie I between 1950 and 1974. The predominant societies were producers and service co-operatives. Since this time cooperative policy and law has undertaken many reforms and cooperatives have come to play a crucial role in economic and social development.




Ethiopia counts 3 ICA member organisations. They are Oromia Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union (OCFCU) Ltd., Cooperative Bank of Oromia and the AWACH Savings and Credit Cooperatives (AWACH).

The ICA member data was completed by of one full member organisation: AWACH

AWACH is a primary cooperative established to provide financial services to its members. Its mission is to improve socio-economic conditions of members & other people through mobilizing saving and creating access to credit & asset building using relevant technology and highly motivated staffs in consideration of social governance aspects.

Legal framework

Legal framework

The history of formal or modern types of cooperatives in Ethiopia started during the Era of Emperor Hailesellassie I during the 1950s. Later on, Decree No. 44 of 1960 and later by the Coop. Proclamation 241/1966 was issued.


Main regulations

This table displays a selection of cooperative regulations identified by experts and ICA members. For the full analysis including all relevant regulations, see the full report.



Brief Description

Decree N° 44 of 1960

Through this decree also known as Farm Workers’ Decree, cooperatives gained formal legal status although it was only initially meant for poor farmers

Cooperative Proclamation 241/1966

Promulgated and embraced cooperative principles which made it possible to form any type of cooperative including SACCOs.

Cooperative Proclamation No. 147/1998

Legality of cooperatives acknowledged by the national constitution which is the supreme law.

Cooperative Proclamation No. 985/2016

The most recent regulation and one of its main importance is to emphasize the role of cooperatives by ensuring members’ rights and ownership


Cooperative friendliness

All articles in the recent Proclamation are cooperative friendly than not which means the legal framework creates conducive environment for cooperative development in the country. Therefore, we rate the legal framework as “cooperative friendly”. Some of the form of friendliness is manifested in the relationship between cooperatives (both rural & urban) and the advocacy capabilities of cooperatives.


Key recommendations for improvement

(i) increase & strengthen cooperation to enable service diversification (ii) a number of articles should be further clarified by issuing regulations, rules and directives (iii) establish a cooperative development policy in order to provide a basis for more effective and efficient system of regulation and management of cooperatives.



For developing countries like Ethiopia, it is highly critical to do all the best that we have to realize equitable development, harmonize nature and man, create peace, ensure sustainability and narrow the gap between the rich and poor. Cooperative policy, Cooperative Proclamations, and other legal documents are one the means to actualize the vision of the cooperative movement so as to enable it stand in its own feet and fulfill the needs of all cooperators.




The legal frameworks analysis is a tool developed under the ICA-EU Partnership #coops4dev. It is an overview of the national legal frameworks at the time of writing. The views expressed within are not necessarily those of the ICA, nor does a reference to any specific content constitute an explicit endorsement or recommendation by the ICA. 

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