Regional Conference on the Social Economy – Africa’s Response to the Global Crisis

This conference brought together social economy promoters and stakeholders from Africa, government representatives from 15 African countries, employers’ and workers’ organizations, and ILO specialists to adopt an action programme.

At this ILO regional conference, participants adopted a Plan of Action for the Promotion of Social Economy Enterprises and Organizations in Africa. The preamble of the Plan of Action defines the social economy as enterprises and organizations – particularly cooperatives, mutual benefit societies, and foundations – that produce goods, services and knowledge while pursuing both economic and social aims and fostering solidarity.

The preamble cites congruence of aims of the social economy in Africa with Conclusions of the Committee on Gender Equality, which met during the International Labour Conference in June 2009 in Geneva. This congruence is on the informal economy, sustainable enterprises, youth employment, rural employment, social protection and gender equality.

Objectives of the Plan of Action include to: enhance recognition of social economy enterprises and organizations and increase partnerships with them; enhance knowledge on promoting social economy enterprises and organizations, and reinforce African social economy networks; establish an enabling legal, institutional and policy environment for social economy enterprises and organizations, and strengthen and promote social economy structures at the national level; and assist these enterprises and organizations to be more effective in meeting people’s needs for, among other things, income creation, social protection, employment promotion, rights at work, the response to HIV/AIDS, elimination of child labour, and mitigation of impacts of economic crisis.

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