Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


This paper investigates how US PVOs and their African NGO counterparts are assisting cooperatives, microenterprise, and small businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. A people-centered development vision which aims to stimulate a more equal distribution of income, resources and jobs provides a values orientation for economic development.

The literature reveals that PVOs can play a role in microenterprise development. Recommendations to PVOs include the creation of sustainable financial services, promoting cooperatives and cooperative ownership, developing models of social service institutions that respond to low-income people's articulated needs, and linking informal organizations to the formal sector.

A series of components, models, and roles for assisting cooperatives provides an analytical framework to analyze the case studies. There are four components widely found in development assistance programs, which are financial and technical assistance, training, and social promotion. Six PVO roles for channeling cash surpluses from individuals and businesses into cooperatives, small and microenterprises, (rural and financial intermediation) complete the framework for characterizing the nature of PVO assistance.

The case studies include a Senegalese women's economic development cooperative, the marketing of small-scale maize mills in Cameroon, the TechnoServe-Nigerian community development Trust Fund, and a regional approach to NGO-business collaboration in East and Southern Africa.

The final analysis asks how PVO development assistance endeavors can become self-sustaining. The conclusions are that the community, cooperative, or microenterprise must be fully invested on an economic, social, and organizational level; there must be long-term and consistent monitoring; and that assistance must focus on community needs, not the production and dissemination of technology.


Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations