History of Co-operatives
The roots of the modern Co-operative go as far as 1844 in Rochdale, Great Britain as a consequence of the industrial Revolution. The dire economic conditions propelled persons into seeking solutions to alleviate the crisis. This gave rise to persons pooling their resources to acquire enough capital to start businesses where goods were sold and the profits distributed to its members.
The Co-operatives concept in time was introduced to other countries with varying adaptations. The Caribbean formally embraced the movement in the 19th century when missionaries from Canada and the USA introduced the concept.
In Antigua, a financial Co-operative was introduced in the 1950's by Father John Peter Sullivan a Roman Catholic priest. Hence the St. Joseph's Credit Union was the first to be established followed by Ebenezer, the Antigua and Barbuda Teachers and the Antigua & Barbuda Police.
Today Co-operatives are in 80 countries around the world. From the 1950's to 2012 we have seen steady growth in Antigua & Barbuda of the six affiliated financial Co-operatives registered with the league the membership gross approximately 26,000 with an asset base of over $146 million. The Non- Financial Co-operatives have in excess of 200 members.
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