Responding to the crisis through the social economy

The social economy (SE) is defined as “enterprises and organizations, in particular cooperatives, mutual benefit societies, associations, foundations and social enterprises, which produce goods, services and knowledge while pursuing both economic and social aims and fostering solidarity”. The ILO has a long tradition and expertise in social economy.

As follow-up to the ILO regional conference on “The Social Economy - Africa’s Response to the Global Crisis”, held in Johannesburg last October, a task force workshop will take place at the ITC-ILO from 24 to 26 February.  Participants from ILO headquarters, the Regional Office for Africa, the International Training Centre and regional employers’ and workers’ organizations will meet to brainstorm about how the plan of action to promote social economy enterprises and organizations in Africa can be implemented further. They will also discuss ways to set up a regional programme.


The plan of action has four strategic objectives:


  1. To enhance the recognition of SE enterprises and organizations, and increase the number of partnerships with them.
  2. To increase knowledge of how to promote social economy enterprises and organizations and to reinforce African social economy networks.
  3. To establish an enabling legal, institutional and policy environment for social economy enterprises and organizations, and to strengthen and promote SE structures at the national level.
  4. To boost the efficiency of social economy enterprises and organizations so that they help meet people’s needs for income, social protection, employment, rights at work, food security, environmental protection, the fight against HIV/AIDS, the elimination of child labour and the mitigation of the impact of the crisis.



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