Through the Uniterra program, CECI supports the National Social and Solidarity Economy Network in developing an alternative economy in Mali. A partnership established between the Malian network and the Chantier de l’économie sociale du Québec forms one of the cornerstones of this project. Within this context, expert consultant, volunteer cooperant and ex-minister of the Quebec government Robert Perreault carried out a six-month mission in Mali. His key achievement was the co-production of a National Public Policy to foster the social and solidarity economy sector.
Working closely with RENAPESS (Réseau d’Appui à la Promotion de l’Économie Sociale et Solidaire), Malian government authorities are currently engaged in a political dialogue to implement an institutional, legal and regulatory framework, develop social entrepreneurship, improve the coordination and monitoring of social businesses and promote popular access to social and solidarity economy services.
The National Policy being developed aims to closely parallel Mali’s development priorities as this sector represents to a large extent the country’s socioeconomic fabric. In Mali, 16,000 registered cooperatives represent 741,000 members (over half of whom are women) and generate over 2000 direct jobs. The sector also accounts for 97 solidarity financial institutions and 8,200 associations, not counting the hundreds of thousands of informal micro-business that the social economy could help become legal businesses.
Social economy is a pragmatic response to the challenges of globalization and contributes to the revival of active citizenship on a local, national and international scale. In its fight against poverty, Mali, which has a long history of solidarity through village associations, will be able to rely on modern social and solidarity organizational models that have proven effective elsewhere in the world.