Dakar Hosts the Global Social and Solidarity Economy Forum

The City of Dakar  in collaboration with the network of actors and local authorities for the SSE (Réseau des Acteurs et des Collectivités Territoriales pour l’ESS – RACTES), the Global Social and Solidarity Economy Forum (GSEF) and the Ministry of Microfinance and Social and Solidarity Economy of Senegal, is actively preparing to host the Global Social and Solidarity Economy Forum (GSEF) which will be taking place on African soil for the first time. The GSEF 2023 will take place from the 1st to the 6th of May 2023 and will explore the theme of “the transition from the informal economy to collective and sustainable economies for the territories”.

This international meeting will be structured around several main highlights: the Jeun’ESS pre-forum on the 1st and 2nd of May, which is dedicated to young people and the recognition of their participation in this economy of the future, the creation of jobs and new opportunities; the Femm’ESS pre-forum on the 3rd of May, a day dedicated to the vital role of women within the structures and enterprises of the SSE; and the main forum on the 4th, 5th and 6th of May, which is divided into 7 major themes or “pathways”, these being the co-construction of public policies that create decent jobs for young people and women, the blue economy, the green economy, the digital economy, financing, policy dialogue and research. By mid-April, more than 2,000 participants had already registered.

“We are witnessing a moment of history. We must stop in our tracks, change course, and lead the ecological and social transformation of our economy; an economy that has shown itself to be vulnerable in the face of crises. We need to be more resilient,” said Pierre Hurmic, Mayor of Bordeaux and Co-President of the GSEF.

“The Social and Solidarity Economy must become the “norm that will regulate tomorrow’s economy”, the norm that emphasises the prime importance of humans and the fact of working together over capital alone, and that structures an enduring economy of proximity” he added.

Mrs Victorine Ndeye, Minister of Microfinance and the Social and Solidarity Economy, praises the progress of the preparations for the Global Social and Solidarity Economy Forum. The Government of Senegal has made the Social and Solidarity Economy a fundamental priority that contributes to the strengthening of a democratic society and to the creation of added value in the formal and informal sectors through the redistribution of wealth, by promoting businesses and organisations built on solidarity and the importance of social issues.

At the helm of the event’s host city is Barthélemy Dias, Mayor of Dakar, who confirms “we are delighted to welcome the Forum on African soil for the first time: it is an honour for all Senegalese people.”

The Mayor of Dakar takes responsibility for bringing Africa’s voice to the Forum for its very first time on the continent.

He reminds us that the informal sector represents 80% of the continent’s economy while 70% of its population is under 30 years of age. This human capital is struck by unemployment, underemployment, lack of training and a lack of opportunities. “Africa’s growth could be twice as strong if our Human Development Index (HDI) was higher,” he adds.

Dakar, the capital of the GSEF 2023, has an ambitious goal: to create 20 million opportunities in terms of training, professional experience, jobs and access to finance from 2023 in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Achieving this ambition will require close collaboration with all players involved in economic and social development, Dias explains.

The “Dakar Appeal” will absolutely be about taking action. “We want a forum of action, not just a forum of ideas,” he concludes.

The GSEF is an international event organised every two years to promote the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) across the world. Previous years’ forums were held in Seoul (2014), Montreal (2016), Bilbao (2018) and Mexico City (2020). This year, the Forum will bring together between 4500 and 5000 participants from across all continents. The member cities of the GSEF are the main organisers of this event.

About the GSEF:
Every two years, the GSEF leads a Global Social and Solidarity Economy Forum, co-constructed with member cities across all continents. It has become a must-attend event for SSE; a veritable sign of its dynamism. Each forum adopts a declaration that links host cities and participants and formalises the commitment to work for this human-centric economy as well as the essential tool for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This gathering represents an exceptional platform for mutual learning as well as exchange of knowledge and views on all aspects of the Social and Solidarity Economy. The GSEF is a global network of local governments and civil society networks committed to promoting the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) as an “alternative style of economy” for the benefit of all; a freer sense of local development, centred on humans and mindful of the environment.

The GSEF brings together 86 members from 37 countries across five continents, including 32 local governments, 38 SSE networks and civil society organisations.

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