ILO Contributes to a UN DESA webinar on MSME formalization through cooperatives

The webinar on “Promoting MSME Formalization through the Cooperative Enterprise Model” took place on 11 March 2021 with the participation of policy makers, cooperatives, and development partners

Actualité | 15 mars 2021
Jointly organized by the Division for Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DSDG/DESA) and the Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA), Kenya, the webinar explored good practices in promoting Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) formalization through leveraging the cooperative enterprise model and drawing on lessons from the successful experiences in Kenya, with a particular focus on policy space and support systems.

The event brought together policymakers, cooperatives and MSME umbrella organizations, the private sector and development partners to discuss and explore the way forward to address identified local and international best practices in facilitating MSME formalization through the cooperative enterprise model. It underlined recommendations that encourage the formalization of MSMEs and draw lessons from the successful experience of the cooperative enterprise model in Kenya, and around Africa with a particular focus on policy space, regulations and business development support systems.

The ILO was invited to participate in the event with a presentation on the work of the ILO on MSME formalization through cooperatives. The Manager of the COOP Unit, Ms Esim noted the importance and timeliness of the topic. She indicated that most cooperative enterprises around the world and in Africa are SMEs in terms of how many people they employ. She noted, cooperatives are oftentimes the choice for microentrepreneurs in the informal economy, to access advisory services, training schemes, mutualised financial instruments, business networks, and horizontal groups.

She indicated that the work of the ILO is guided by international labour standards. She noted two ILO recommendations that are relevant to formalization and cooperatives, namely the Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation, 2002 (No. 193), and the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204). She noted that when provided with a conducive enabling environment and a supportive ecosystem the cooperative enterprise model can be effective in addressing many of the challenges to MSME formalization.

The flyer, concept note, and the agenda for the event as well as its recording are available here.