It has been argued that current interest in co-operatives is because they can reduce poverty and are resilient organisations. However histories of co-operatives’ successes and failures suggests that co- operative organisational resilience needs better understanding. This article reviews the literature, particularly with respect to sub-Saharan Africa. It argues that co-operative organisational resilience centres on co-operatives’ multi-dimensionality and the development of collective capability in five mutually reinforcing areas of activity. These are: membership, networks, collective skills in governance, innovation, and engagement with governments. Together, they strengthen co- operatives’ resilience but, where lacking, they undermine it. The article adds to thinking about ‘co- operative advantage’.