ILO COOP/SSE Unit participates in the ILO’s 8th Regulating Decent Work research conference

The 8th RDW Conference in 2023 took place at the ILO in Geneva between July 10-12, 2023. It addressed the impact of interconnected crises, COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, conflicts, and disruptions to global supply chains, on the world of work.

Actualité | 12 juillet 2023
The conference focused on areas such as macroeconomic policies, trade and global value chains, institutions for decent work and social protection, and regulatory innovation. It explored transformative policies and innovative institutions that can address the labour and social consequences of these crises, promote a just transition to environmentally sustainable economies, and ensure a more equitable and inclusive society.

Over 450 participants from over 55 countries, attended 74 parallel sessions with over 250 presentations. Researchers from various fields and representing hundreds of academic institutions and universities spanning dozens of countries presented their research and proposed new ideas and policies.

ILO COOP/SSE Unit Head Ms Esim chaired "Parallel Session 10.7: Work and Well-being in the Informal Economy" on 12 July 2023. The two papers presented in the session focused on Africa: one on the link between the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE), informality and the SDGs and the other on women in the platform economy in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

The paper on “Promoting Sustainable Development and Decent Work in Africa’s Informal Economy Through the SSE: Introducing a Conceptual Model and New Tool for Policy and Practice”, by Jürgen Schwettmann, Michael Bull, and Helen Wadham reflected on how the SSE can play a vital role in achieving progress towards the SDGs.

Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Schwettmann presented the conceptual model that identifies how the SSE might effectively contribute to specific SDG targets, particularly those related to decent work and to the informal economy. The authors concluded that the SSE’s potential to contribute to sustainable development and decent work in Africa is far from being fully harnessed. For the reason that most policymakers, researchers and practitioners lack cognizance of the existence and agency of SSE entities.

The second paper of the session on “Women Social Sellers in Nigeria: Training, Safety and Redress”, by Savita Bailur and Olayinka David-West examined the experiences and challenges of women social sellers in Nigeria. The authors reflected on how social selling, informal selling through Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter and other means, is a popular means of income generation for women, with relatively low access barriers.

Presented by Ms Bailur, the authors explored how women gain online skills, who they turn to for safety, and how both are regulated. They concluded that many of the skills learned, including on how to protect oneself, are either on the job, or learned through private institutions and individuals (influencers who train others and so on).

The ensuing discussion included the direction of the post-SDG framework, and collective agency in the platform economy.