Recent developments in Cameroon’s social economy law and policy

The government adopted a new framework law that establishes structures and instruments to promote the development of social economy enterprises and organizations, as a means of promoting balanced and sustainable economic growth in Cameroon.

Article | 01 June 2020
The Framework Law No. 2019/004 on the Social Economy
In Cameroon, recent years have seen growing interest in the social economy as a means of alleviating poverty particularly in the rural and informal economies and in promoting balanced and sustainable economic growth.

In 2004, the Ministry of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts (MINPEESA) was established. In 2009 the National Development Strategy for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts (2010-2014) was launched. The Strategy included the following social economy components: improving knowledge on the social economy; adopting an appropriate regulatory framework; promoting collective and group entrepreneurship; and facilitating access to finance by social economy enterprises and organizations, among others.

More recently, the MINPEESA and its Department of Social Economy (DES) commissioned a study on the formulation of the National Programme for the Development of the Social Economy (PNDES) in 2018. The most recent National Programme is aimed at “improving the contribution of social economy organizations to the GDP, through better organization around value chains and sectors and better territorial anchoring to contribute to the local development, fight rural poverty and improve food security”.

In line with the strategy and the programme, progress has been made around the regulatory framework. In April 2019, the Framework Law No. 2019/004 governing the social economy in Cameroon was adopted (available in French and English). The law defines the standards, principles and forms of social economy units and establishes structures and instruments that advance their development. Specifically, the social economy units are defined as enterprises and other organizations which meet the following criteria, irrespective of their legal forms:
  • primacy of individuals and social objectives over capital;
  • freedom of membership;
  • transparent, democratic and participatory governance;
  • collective or social utility of their project;
  • search for collective interest and fair distribution of surpluses:
  • pooling of members’ resources; and
  • compliance with their original legal status

In 2020, the Decree No. 2020/0001 on the structuring and functioning of the network of social economy units was published (available in French).

ILO’s technical support for the implementation of the Framework Law and the PNDES are under discussion with the MINPEESA. For general information about the ILO’s work on the social and solidarity economy (SSE), see here.