Meet our experts: Malick Diop
Malick Diop is the General Coordinator of GSEF Dakar and of the Network of Actors and local authorities for the SSE (Réseau Acteurs et collectivités territoriales pour l’ESS) of Senegal.
Hello Mr Diop, and thank you for accepting this interview. To begin with, could you define SSE in your own words, and tell us why this definition is important?
Like the mainstream economy, the SSE is an economic activity of production of goods and services. The difference with the mainstream economy lies in its purpose, means and governance. I think that the official definition as proposed by the ILO puts too much emphasis on the « social » and « solidarity » aspects and not enough on the notion of economy (with all the characteristics that describe it: performance, profitability, turnover).
What are the opportunities and challenges facing the SSE in advancing decent work?
The SSE has a clear focus on the human and on human dignity and potentially ticks all the boxes of the 4 pillars of decent work: employment, social protection, workers’ rights and social dialogue.
Firstly, the SSE enables self-employment. In this sense, it favours local, proximity work, which valorises the opportunities of the region. It is about creating sustainable jobs, anchored in the territory and the community. This type of work cannot be relocated. Secondly, the SSE is a human-centred economy. It can provide sustainable social protection because solidarity is anchored in its principles. Moreover, the SSE has gone far beyond the fight for workers’ rights, because by definition, the participatory governance that defines SSE structures fully grants these rights to workers and employers and even erases the notions of employers and employees. In the SSE, there is no systematic confrontation between these two classes as it is observed in the classical economy. Relationships are perfectly horizontal with a blurring of the traditional vertical hierarchical boundaries. Finally, whereas in a traditional company social dialogue is a right to be applied with frameworks and rules, in the SSE, social dialogue is permanent. There is no need to draw up frameworks and rules in order to enforce this right to social dialogue, because it is intuitive. Provided that it is recognised, valued and effective, the SSE has all the prerequisites to offer the conditions for decent work if it is applied to the four pillars that define decent work.
However, the SSE is facing several challenges. On the one hand, the role of the SSE in the development of decent work is hindered by the lack of involvement of the authorities in promoting it. Another constraint is the low level of funding for the SSE, while many funds and financing have been created for the mainstream economy. For example, traditional banks do not finance the SSE in the absence of a guarantee. There is also the weakness of the legal framework. In Senegal, for example, even if a framework law on the SSE was put in place in 2021, the application decrees are slow to come out.
What role should the states and social partners play in promoting the SSE?
The State must put in place strategies that favour training, financing and supervision to promote the SSE. The whole support system must be put in place as public policies have done for the traditional economy. In Senegal, although significant progress has been made, a lot of work is still needed to set up a real framework for consultation so that all stakeholders can express themselves.
What would be your recommendations for a better promotion of the SSE?
We should push for the collection of data and the generation of statistics on the SSE, as this would enable us to build more informed public policies. Finally, it would be necessary to accompany the States in the setting up of legal frameworks that are incentive and favourable to the promotion of the SSE, and to allow the setting up of adapted and adaptable financing mechanisms so that the framework of SSEs is healthy and does not put them « under perfusion ».