On June 29 and 30, Togo organized the 3rd edition of the International Conference on Social Enterprises and CSR on innovation and challenges.

The panels of the first day were organized in partnership with the MOUVES which presented the results of its Diagnosis of the Social & Inclusive Business Ecosystems of 16 African Countries, funded by the French Development Agency.

During two days, the discussions focused on the following panels:

- The response of African impact enterprises to COVID-19: agile and resilient models ;

- Post-COVID in Africa: the winning strategy for an inclusive, social and ecological transition ;

- Cooperation with "impact": the role of France ;

- Dialogue on the Manifesto Pact for Impact ;

- Social enterprises and value chains in the craft and food industries ;

- Digital transformation: what opportunities for social innovation?

Initiatives such as this Mobile Application and the website in Côte d'Ivoire, the production of masks by women's cooperatives in Cameroon and in most African countries, the adoption of online sales are all examples of the adaptability and innovation capacities that social and solidarity economy actors, from start-ups to the smallest entities, have demonstrated.

As the Continent has suffered the full impact of the economic crisis even before the health impact of Covid-19, recovery is at the heart of all concerns. Programmes such as the European Mobilisation for Entrepreneurship in Africa (MeetAfrica), the actions of investors and partners, the financing platform, or Collaborative for frontier finance bode well for the support that social entrepreneurs can count on. The Togolese State, which has already set up the national fund for inclusive finance and the Support Fund for Young Economic Initiatives, has also made a commitment to its population by proposing an extension of repayment deadlines on loans taken out by young companies that wish to do so, the setting up of an e-commerce platform, the creation of a financing platform for cash flow needs, the release of special credits for the agricultural sector, etc.

Pauline Effa, Executive Director of PFAC and Africa correspondent for SSE International Forum participated in the two-day event. She did not fail to recall that for the post-Covid world, the lesson to be learned is that SSE is an economic model that has a direct impact on families and communities. She stressed the need to boost it in order to perpetuate the activities created by the « petites mains » during the crisis, and allow the development of collective entrepreneurship. She encourages to follow the model of Local Networks of SSE (RELESS) that she is working to implement in Cameroonian municipalities. These RELESS enable the networking of SSE actors for job creation and access to more markets. Pauline Effa also supports the WYSSE initiative led by Apes Togo, another SSEIF member, which supports women and youth in their SSE projects.

This conference, and all the initiatives presented there, reminds us that Africa can and must rely on the SSE network in its territories in order to build a solid ecosystem and make this economic model a coherent instrument that is adaptable to the realities of countries in a plural Africa. To this end, the creation and maintenance of networks is a priority. Emphasis was also placed on the importance of education and training to foster greater entrepreneurial dynamism among young people.

On a more global level, SSE can be a tool for reaching SDGs since it places the community at the heart of its actions. It must not be forgotten in the debate on digital transformation, which must be an asset for impact companies, while making sure not to deepen existing inequalities.

To follow the debates, click here for the first day, and here for the second.

You can also share your opinion on the conference by filling in this survey.