The Social and Solidarity Economy as an agent of social innovation in Africa

An ILO research report on the contribution of SSE to social innovation in Africa is now available in English and French

News | 03 October 2022
Over the past ten years, the French government and the ILO have joined forces on three separate occasions to contribute to a better global understanding of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE).  During the first phase of this partnership (2010-2014), tools for promoting and financing the SSE were explored and a study on  The microcredit sector in France was conducted. During the second partnership (2015-2019), the ILO, in collaboration with HIVA-KU Leuven Research institute, conducted a research project on the contribution of the SSE and social finance to the future of work, This resulted in the publication of the report: The contribution of SSE and social finance to the future of work (2020) in English and French.

Within the framework of the third and ongoing phase of bilateral cooperation between the ILO and France (2020-2024), the French Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, the Cooperatives Unit (COOP) and the Social Finance Programme (Social Finance) of the ILO's Enterprises Department have carried out a joint research project on the SSE and social innovation in Africa. The main objective of this research project was to identify and analyze social innovation cases and experiences initiated by Social and Solidarity Economy Organizations (SSEOs) in Africa. The research study was conducted between June 2021 and March 2022, in collaboration with the SOS Group,  in five African countries: South Africa, Cameroon, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia.

The research study was conducted in a time when there is growing interest in the contribution and the role that the SSE can play in addressing the main challenges related to advancing sustainable development and decent work for all. A General Discussion on decent work and the social and solidarity economy took place at the 110th International Labour Conference (ILC) of the ILO in June 2022 and resulted in the adoption of the first ILC Resolution on the subject.

The research study contributes to informing the ILO constituents on the extent to SSE actors are driving social innovation in Africa.

The conclusions of this research are presented in a report on "The contribution of SSE to social innovations in Africa". The report is now available in French and English.