The joint seminar on the role of women in cooperative economy in order to Empower and Explain the economic role of women in society and also sharing successful experiences was held at ICC with the presence of the president of Iran Chamber of Cooperatives, the ambassador of South Africa, UN resident coordinator in Iran, Director of International Affairs of Vice President for Women and Family Affairs and a large number of women cooperators from Iran and South Africa.
Bahman Abdollahi, the president of Iran Chamber of Cooperatives, emphasized that women have always had a special position in Iranian-Islamic culture and said:” from the view point of cultural and religious issues, Fatimah (SA) can be cited as a perfect model of woman and real explainer of women’s position in Islamic society.”
He continued:” In the international cooperative movement, women also have a special place. So that, today it has been emphasized on presence and participation of women in the cooperative movement along with UN development programs in order to empower the women in the society.”
He stated:” due to the role of women in the global cooperative movement, 95% share of women among the members of Japan’s consumer cooperatives, 49% share of women members of labor cooperatives in Spain and 65% share of women as board members of credit cooperatives in Tanzania can be pointed out. “
Mr. Abdollahi added:” In the cooperative movement of Iran, women have a special place, too. Currently, from the amount of 93,500 active cooperatives, there are 10,000 cooperatives equivalent 11% of total cooperatives that dedicated to women and more than 32% of the country’s active cooperatives are women cooperatives. Overall, cooperatives and women’s unions are active in 96 fields of manufacturing, service and distribution issues that service, industry and mining, agriculture and handmade carpets cooperatives, with 93% contribution, are the largest, respectively. On the other hand, it can be said that over 61% of women cooperatives work in the manufacturing sector.
The official said:” According to these statistics, it can be concluded that the cooperative sector of Iran has been able to provide proper capacity for women’s economic activities. Therefore, the capacity of the Iranian cooperative sector and cooperative business model can be used to empower Iranian women and strengthen their economic role in the society.”
The president of Iran Chamber of Cooperatives pointed out the joint seminar on the role of women in cooperative economy and said:” One of the approaches for empowering is taking successful experiences of other countries. This seminar is also aimed at exploiting the economic capacities of the South African country, especially in the field of women.”
He referred to the situation in South Africa and said: “South Africa has very strong economic and financial infrastructure (energy, ITC , transport, finance ,legal ,stock market, advanced banking and financial structure, the modern system of efficient distribution of goods and that has put it to the level of developed countries, especially in the manufacturing and industrial economic sectors.
So, South Africa is now referred to as the continent’s largest economy and a large market with middle income based on natural resources.”
He continued to investigate the export situation of this African country and explained: “South Africa’s commodity exports to the world in year 2018, is about 94 billion USD and its import of goods from the world is about 93 billion USD, which can be said this country has got a balanced trade balance.”
He said: “Iran’s exports to South Africa in 2018 have been about 6 million USD and its imports from that country have been about 115 million USD. Therefore, Iran’s trade balance with South Africa has been negative at 109 million USD, which is very unbalanced and we need to balance that by developing Iran’s exports to South Africa.”
It would be mentioned that Iran’s major exports to South Africa include organic and inorganic chemicals; fertilizer; carpet and flooring; fuel and mineral oils; stone, gypsum, lime and cement; ceramic, iron and steel products. While Iran’s major imports from South Africa have been inorganic chemicals; industrial and mechanical machinery; iron and steel; iron and steel artifacts.
The president of Iran Chamber of Cooperatives on the development of the economic relations of the Iran’s cooperative sector with the South African cooperative and private sectors in the field of women, said: ” Iranian women can take advantage of the cooperative spirit, networking and their own creativity in order to use the economic opportunities available in the cooperative sector to exploit their economic and social aspirations well.”
He said:” furthermore, given the importance of training and available capacity in the cooperative sector, it is essential for Iranian women to take advantage of this opportunity to update their skills more than ever before. Holding such events can also be a positive step towards introducing the capacities of women entrepreneurs and cooperators and spreading the cooperative culture across the country.”
He said:” The development of economic relations between both countries is mainly operational in the various industrial and mining sectors proportional to the commercial capacities of Iran and South Africa, especially in the following areas where both sides have good potential. For example: chemicals, detergents, processed foods, electronic equipment, steel, environmental structures, water & wastewater refinery equipment, diesel trailers & tanks, maritime transportation, shipping, fisheries & aquaculture, petrochemical industries, plastic, building & construction can be considered .
According to his opinion, the South African oil industry is a good market for Iranian oil industries in terms of crude oil, gas and petrochemical imports and there is good capacity for Iranian public and private companies to participate in oil, petrochemical, gas, refinery construction, construction of electricity generation units from oil and related industries in South Africa.
Mr .Abdollahi said :” Iran’s cooperative sector due to the economic potentials of South Africa and its capacity is considered as the second pillar of the country’s economy in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, with 93000 active cooperatives, about 11 million members and employment of one million seven hundred thousand and having three major groups of cooperatives, including manufacturing cooperatives (50% share), distribution cooperatives (22% share) and service cooperatives (28% share) expresses its interest and readiness to develop economic relations in all the aforementioned economic areas and to become more familiar with South African cooperatives in different fields and to transfer experiences between both countries in different industrial, service and agricultural fields.”
He said: “It is also necessary to plan for the transfer of experiences between the cooperators and entrepreneurs of both countries in women area and in this regard it is necessary to maintain continuous interaction between Iran Chamber of Cooperatives and the embassy of South Africa in Tehran.”