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 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 Paraguay, the data is collected for the reference years 2018 and 2019.

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



The origins of associationism in Paraguay are linked to its first inhabitants, the native Guarani, for whom organizing in cooperative communities was a way of life. Thus, they practiced the amandaya or assembly of the tribe, the oñondivepa or solidarity work and the yopoi or mutual aid. This system was used and encouraged by the Jesuits, who organized a cooperative republic with thirty Guaraní peoples, in the so-called “jesuíticas” reductions.

According to the document "Panoramic vision of the cooperative sector in Paraguay", developed between the International Labor Organization and ICA; At the end of the 19th century, the first experiences of social economy began in the country. These take place among the groups of Spanish and Italian immigrants who arrived in Paraguay after the War against the Triple Alliance —a warlike conflict that pitted Paraguay against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay from 1865 to 1870—, who created the first relief societies mutual, entities that implemented reciprocal solidarity and mutual aid, prioritizing care in case of illness.



Paraguay counts ICA member organisations:

- Confederación Paraguaya de Cooperativas (CONPACOOP), is a full member and is an APEX organisation in Paraguay.

- Cooperativa Universitaria (CU), is a full member in the finance sector.

- Federación de Cooperativas del Paraguay (FECOPAR), is a full member and is an APEX organisation in Paraguay.

- Confederación de Cooperativas Rurales del Paraguay Ltda (CONCOPAR Ltda.), is a full member and an intersectoral national organization.

- Federación de Cooperativas Multiactivas del Paraguay (FECOMULP Ltda.), is a full member and an intersectoral national organization.

Panal Compañía de Seguros Generales S.A. Propiedad Cooperativa (PANAL), is a full member in the insurance sector.

In Paraguay the research questionnaire was distributed to and completed by 3 ICA member organisations. The data collected was for the reference years 2017 and 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 Paraguay.

Paraguay's Cooperative Legislation is based on Article 113 of the National Constitution, which reads: "The promotion of cooperatives. The State will promote the cooperative enterprise and other associative forms of production of goods and services, based on solidarity and social profitability, to which it will guarantee its free organization and autonomy. The principles of the cooperative movement, as an instrument of national economic development, will be distributed through the education system."

Law No. 438/94 on Cooperatives regulates the constitution, organization and operation of Cooperatives. It was enacted and published in 1994.


Cooperative Friendliness

In general, there are no provisions contrary to the development of the cooperative movement, except in the cases of the Banking Law and the Insurance Law which establish that both banks and insurance companies must be created under the figure of "Companies" which indirectly excludes cooperatives from the possibility of carrying out such activities.

That is to say, a National Law, rather than promoting the cooperative movement, causes harm to cooperatives and also to their associates.


Key recommendations for improvement

First, the contradiction between Articles 51 and 59 of Law No. 5.501/15 must be eliminated, installing a system that allows cooperatives to organize freely, as provided for in Article 113 of the National Constitution, agreeing and establishing in their social statutes the democratic mechanism of election they deem convenient.

Another issue that should be enhanced is the promotion of cooperative education and the creation of new cooperatives, through a public institution responsible for managing, through plants and federations in coordination with confederations, projects for new cooperatives, through feasibility or viability studies, training not only in matters related to the cooperative movement, but also in the arts, trades and professions that allow future associates to have the tools of knowledge necessary for their performance. This cannot be fully developed by INCOOP, since by its very nature, it is a control body.



In conclusion, it can be argued that legislation is more in favor of cooperatives than against them, but support could be even greater, by achieving clear and precise laws that encourage and protect cooperatives, like for example labor cooperatives, and allow some type of benefit or incentive that motivates individuals and public institutions to engage with cooperatives, whether for private activities or for tenders for services and public works. 




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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