Cooperatives Division




The Ministry of industry and trade, through the cooperative development division, is mandated to register all forms of cooperative societies and develop the cooperative sector by, among other things; supporting cooperative human resource development through education and training; development of business potential including entrepreneurial and managerial capacities; strengthening competitiveness; supporting access to markets and institutional finance and promotion of sound financial management and accountability in cooperatives. 


Cooperatives mainly operate in the following sectors of the economy:

Agriculture - through Agricultural producers and marketing cooperatives

Finance - through Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs)

Manufacturing – through manufacturing and agro-processing cooperatives

Mining – through mining cooperatives

Rural livelihoods – through Community savings and investment cooperatives



The functions of the cooperative division can be classified into two groups:


1.    Registration of cooperatives

The division is mandated by the cooperative societies Act to undertake registration of all forms of cooperatives in Malawi.

2.    Inspections and inquiries

The division is mandated by the act to undertake cooperative inspections and inquiries to determine and address governance gaps in cooperative societies.

3.    Regulation and provision of Audit Services

The division regulates operations of non-financial cooperative societies and also promotes transparency and accountability in cooperatives through provision of audit services.

4.    Settlement of Cooperative disputes

The office of Registrar of cooperatives is mandated to provide arbitration services to the cooperative sector to facilitate amicable settlement of disputes.

5.    Liquidation of cooperatives

The division is also mandated by law, to undertake both voluntary and mandatory liquidation of cooperative societies.



1.    Cooperative Policy formulation

The Ministry through the division is responsible for coordinating policy formulation and review for the cooperative sector.

2.    Supporting capacity building in cooperatives

The division provides education and training services to cooperatives to enable them effectively manage their enterprises and also address governance gaps.

3.    Facilitating cooperative linkage to markets and finance

To promote access to reliable markets, the division facilitates cooperative linkages with other bigger enterprises in the private sector.  The division also promotes linkages with financial institutions to support cooperative access to finance. 

4.    Promotion of Cooperative ventures and new areas for cooperative operations

Diversification of cooperative activities is critical to the growth of the sector; the division undertakes stakeholder and general public sensitization on the need to develop the sector. It also explores new areas for cooperative enterprise development.