Pictured at the inaugural Breakfast on the Hill event (L to R): Tim Costello, CEO, World Vision; Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells; Martin Lowery, Executive VP, NRECA; Melina Morrison, CEO, BCCM; Els Kamphof, Group Executive, Wholesale, Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group and Andrew Crane, CEO, CBH Group.

Co-operatives are owned by one billion people globally. Collectively, the global co-operative sector deploys significant resources to lift people out of poverty, to empower local communities and to improve the lives of millions across the globe. The power of co-operation brings with it social and economic development to communities and nations.

Last Wednesday, Rabobank in association with the BCCM hosted the inaugural Breakfast on the Hill event on the theme of Public Private Partnerships for Development: How co-operatives leverage the power of business for stronger global communities.

Business and political leaders were in attendance for the event which included the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. In her speech, the Minister said “…co-operatives and mutuals are great models for building self-reliance, and they are models that government can support in ways that reinforce positive incentives for self-help.”

Noting how co-operatives and mutuals are great models for building self-reliance, and a model that government can support, the Minister concluded her remarks by stating that “…co-operatives and mutuals have been and will continue to be an important part of Australia’s overseas development assistance efforts to reduce aid dependency and build sustainable prosperity.”

Ms Els Kamphof, leader of Rabobank’s Australia & New Zealand wholesale division and Mr Martin Lowery, Executive Vice President of Member and Association Relations at National Rural Electricity Cooperative Association (USA) also spoke at the event.

Ms Kamphof explained how Rabobank has assisted millions of small-holder farmers and rural communities around the world into sustainable agricultural markets through the work of the bank’s development arm, Rabobank Foundation. Mr Lowery discussed the international development work of NRECA, the US co-operative energy retail conglomerate with 42 million customers, which supports communities in numerous countries including Bangladesh, Haiti and Sierra Leone.


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