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. In Jamaica, the data is collected for the reference year 2018.

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 Jamaica. For more information and the full research results, you can download the report by clicking on the links above.



The Jamaica Department of Cooperatives mentions on its website that the Cooperative Movement in Jamaica, as in most developing countries, had its origins in the peasantry. Its growth and development dates back to the emancipation (1838) to the present, which covers a period of more than 160 years.

The informal cooperative efforts, which characterized the period 1840-1938, met with some success; roads, schools and churches were built. Farmers benefited from group action in their agricultural activities, and more importantly, a keen sense of brotherhood developed that boded well for future endeavors. This was the foundation on which the more formal cooperative development from the period 1938 to the present was built, and which saw the formation of cooperative organizations and the enactment of cooperative legislation.



Jamaica counts ICA member organisations:

- TIP Friendly Society, is a full member in the finance sector.

EduCom Cooperative Credit Union Limited (EduCom), is a full member in the finance sector.

Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League (JCCUL), is a full member in the finance sector.

In Jamaica the research questionnaire was distributed to and completed by 1 ICA member organisation. The data collected was for the reference year 2018.


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 Jamaica.

The Co-operative Societies Act and the Co-operative Societies Regulations govern all classes of Cooperatives in Jamaica, no matter what their common objective may be. The Act and the Regulations were promulgated in 1950 and were most recently amended in 1992. It should be noted that, there are no special or exclusive laws for most co-operatives, however the Act and the Regulations contain special provisions for Credit Unions.


Cooperative Friendliness

The lack of the recognition of cooperative principles in other applicable legislations and other regulations with the foregoing at best reflects that there is a lack of cooperative friendliness in our legislation which may be coined as “more cooperatively unfriendly than friendly”.


Key recommendations for improvement

  • Comprehensive amendment and/or overhaul of the existing legislation to become more modernized with an emphasis on provisions to improve the capitalization of cooperatives.
  • Future constitutional reform should include recognition and support for cooperatives in order to ensure that the development of public policies will take into consideration the characteristics and attributes of Cooperatives.
  • Recognition of the cooperative principles when enacting legislation and/or amending existing legislation on fiscal policies.
  • Establishment of a basic accounting system for smaller cooperatives with special regard given to agricultural cooperatives.
  • Harmonization between cooperative legislation and labor laws.



This report was formulated principally by reviewing the existing Act and Regulations of Cooperatives as well as other legislation governing the operation of legal entities in the jurisdiction. Relevant documentation from the cooperative movement was taken into account along with general information from the DCFS as well as articles and papers on the subject area.  While there seems to be a greater availability of information internationally, locally the information could be deemed ‘sparse’at best. This lack of local information reflects our conclusion that the legislative framework in the jurisdiction generally needs to be seriously reviewed and updated.




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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