Key figures

Number of cooperatives per sector
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 around the world.

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, designed with the support of external experts from the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (Euricse).

Each office collected the input of ICA members present in the countries within its geographic area, by using a common questionnaire, and completing it with relevant national statistics, in order to obtain a picture of the national situation. As a result, the data above is collected following two strategies: 1) a survey targeting ICA cooperative members 2) collecting national statistics already available in the country. The numbers above provide aggregated data from ICA members on the number of cooperatives, as well as the number of cooperative employees and memberships in the country. More methodological information is available in the full report.

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 tools for positive change.

This webpage presents a snapshot of the research results for Guatemala. For more information and the full research results, you can download the report by clicking on the links above.



The website of Confecoop Guatemala indicates that cooperativism formally arose in 1903 with the Law of Cooperative Societies; The objective of this Law was to improve the living conditions of the working class, increase their well-being and contribute to the progress of the nation, to the development of the notions of social security and savings in order to provide the working class with the greatest benefits, in search of profit immediate of the associates of its diverse unions, to increase the cohesion between the elements of the society and to the conservation of the small patrimonies.

From 1903 to 1945, cooperative associations were not created, but rather entities that promoted savings and mutual aid, mainly due to ignorance of cooperativism in general.

In 1944 it was established in the Constitution: "The State will provide the collectives and cooperatives, technical instruction, administrative management, machinery and capital" and that "the establishment of cooperative production companies is declared of urgent social utility, as well as the legislation that organize and promote them”.



Guatemala counts ICA member organisation:

Confederación Guatemalteca de Federaciones Cooperativas R.L. (CONFECOOP), is a full member and is the APEX organisation in Guatemala.


Legal framework

Legal framework
Legal framework
Legal framework


The legal framework analysis aims to provide general knowledge of the national cooperative legislation and of its main characteristics and contents, with particular regard to those aspects of regulation regarding the identity of cooperatives and its distinction from other types of business organisations, notably the for-profit shareholder corporation.

It aims to evaluate whether the national legislation in place supports or hampers the development of cooperatives, and is therefore “cooperative friendly” or not, and the degree to which it may be considered so, also in comparison to the legislation in force in other countries of the ICA region, or at the supranational level.

In addition, the research aims to provide recommendations for eventual renewal of the legal frameworks in place in order to understand what changes in the current legislation would be necessary to improve its degree of “cooperative friendliness”, which is to say, to make the legislation more favourable to cooperatives, also in consideration of their specific identity. This webpage presents a snapshot of the legal framework analysis results for Guatemala.



The cooperative legislation of Guatemala in its global context is represented first by the "General Law of Cooperatives", Decree No. 82-78 of the Congress of the Republic, approved by the aforementioned entity, on December 7, 1978 and published in the Official Journal of the Republic of Guatemala, "Diary of Central America", on December 29, 1978, volume CCX, number 27, a legal body whose characteristics are framed within specialized, proprietary and general application regulations for all cooperatives in the country, without exception of class or type of cooperative. There are no special laws for specific cooperatives.


Cooperative Friendliness

Tax laws do not recognize the nature of cooperatives and they are treated similarly to lucrative enterprises, even though the Political Constitution of the Republic and LGC itself determines the obligation of the State of Guatemala to protect cooperatives and promote the cooperative movement. 


Key recommendations for improvement

  • Separate the cooperative legislation, which exclusively regulates aspects concerning cooperatives, from the rules that create and regulate public bodies responsible for them
  • Identify cooperatives with legal precision as special legal persons of a private nature, of deep social interest, founded on solidarity, mutual aid and self-effort, with the purpose of carrying out socio-economic activities, to meet individual and collective needs of non-profit partners.
  • Extend the principle of adhesion to cooperatives of legal persons, those that are in line with the principles and values that inspire the cooperative movement, preferably service-inclined entities rather than for-profit.
  • Establish clear foundations on the registration of cooperatives and consequent recognition of their legal status and develop simplified and expeditious procedures on this subject.
  • Seriously promote within the policies of the State, rather than recognizing in a factual way, within the legal framework, embodying situations conducive to the true promotion and protection of the cooperative movement.



Guatemala's cooperative legislation evidences serious deficiencies and inadequacies. It is necessary to update the general regulatory framework of legal situations that generate economic and social development, in the consolidation of the National Cooperative Movement.
National legislation in the cooperative field has unfortunately been unable to achieve substantial reform, a product of the absence of necessary coordination, with consensus criteria of the prevailing cooperative sectors, coupled with the absence of the political will of the government sectors, truly committed to the cooperative movement.




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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