Promotion of sustainable development of banking and agricultural production in Paraguay
At a meeting on 13th of November 2020, IRU Board Member and Member of the Paraguayan Parliament Mr Edwin Reimer, Mr Holger Scherf, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Paraguay, DGRV Project Director in Paraguay José-Manuel Bautista and the President of the Bank Bancop, Mr Ricardo Wollmeister, exchanged views on the topics of sustainable development of the financial system and agricultural production in the country.
It was highlighted that the importance of cooperatives in Paraguay should not be underestimated, especially in the banking and credit sector: Almost 12 % of the balance sheet total is generated by companies organised as cooperatives. Cooperative enterprises in the financial sector include banks (e.g. Bancop), insurance (Tajy or Panal), debit and credit card companies (e.g. Pay Group or Cabal) as well as companies providing online payment services. Mr Wollmeister pointed out that BANCOP was able to offer payment systems to its members through its clearing system. Such a payment system would make it possible in future to link a large number of cooperatives via Bancop. Around two third of Bancop’s portfolio is used to finance the agricultural sector.
The importance of the cooperative sector’s involvement in sustainable meat and soy production was also discussed. A balanced growth of environmental, social and economic objectives is a top priority. In this context, the role of IRU member organisation FECOPROD, which brings together production cooperatives and provides the cooperative sector with a sectoral strategy, was also emphasized.
Finally, the challenge faced by Paraguay in establishing a policy to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing was discussed. In this context, José-Manuel Bautista mentioned the DGRV’s initial advisory work with INCOOP. This cooperation aimed at supporting the supervisory and monitoring processes of savings and credit cooperatives in Paraguay in this regard.