Joint COOP/SSE/Social Finance research initiative on Social and solidarity economy and social innovation in Africa

The main objective of this research project is to identify and analyse social innovation cases and experiences initiated by Social and Solidarity Economy Organizations (SSEOs) in Africa.

Within the framework of the partnership between France and the International Labour Organization (ILO) for the period 2015-2019, the Social Finance Programme (Social Finance) and the Cooperatives Unit (COOP) of the ILO's Enterprise Department have carried out research on "The role of the Social and Solidarity Economy and solidarity finance in sustainable development and the future of work and employment". This research highlighted relevant initiatives of Social and Solidarity Economy Organizations (SSEOs) as well as innovative social finance mechanisms.

Due to their values and operating principles, SSEOs such as cooperatives, social enterprises, associations or foundations currently play and are called upon to play a leading role in the generation of social innovation phenomena. Besides, the wealth of social innovation in France generated by SSE organizations makes it possible to envisage a transfer of knowledge and exchanges of good practices between France and SSE actors in Africa where social innovation is struggling sometimes to fully manifest.

The objective of this new phase of the France-ILO partnership in the field of SSE is to provide a better understanding of similar experiences from African countries in order to best support their development and support the initiatives of SSEOs in the region in the field of social innovation. This project will allow in the selected countries (among South Africa, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia) to identify promising sectors and value chains with high potential for social innovation by SSEOs and the constraints they face in this area. This research project will aim to answer the following question: "To what extent are social and solidarity economy actors driving the development of social innovation in Africa?". The ILO will identify and analyze around five social innovations initiated by SSEOs in Africa. Social innovations will have to respond to the major economic, social and environmental challenges in their given countries.

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