The potential of the social economy for local development in Africa: An exploratory report

Research Area: Local development
Scientific coordinator: Riccardo Bodini

Project status: concluded

The social economy and its capacity to provide a positive response to both economic and social issues are attracting increasing interest from politicians and scholars. After Euricse’s guide to the social economy was published by the European Commission, the European Parliament commissioned it to produce a study on the role of the social economy in triggering sustainable local development processes in Africa.


The main objective of the study was to offer an overview of the social economy in Africa as a driver for local development, with the aim of informing the European Parliament’s international development policies. After providing a theoretical introduction to the relationship between the social economy and local development, the study concentrated in particular on four national case studies (Ghana, Morocco, Ethiopia and Kenya) in order to explore the relationship between social economy organizations and the economic and social development processes in these countries.

Main results

The results of the study were presented to the European Parliament on 7 April, 2014. They showed that the social economy, in the typical forms found within the African context, is already contributing to raising the level of well-being of local communities, and could potentially play a significant role in the African economy. However, barriers do exist, both of a legal nature and at the level of governance and management, which continue to limit the impact of the African social economy on local development processes.