Moussa MBAYE* advocates the popular social and solidarity economy as an alternative for a more just world6 May 2016


6th May 2016

As the illustrious Nelson Mandela denounced several times, Moussa Mbaye, Executive Secretary of enda third world, believes that « the permanent slavery due to poverty, deprivation and discrimination (…) » must end. He made this statement during his opening remarks at the General Assembly of the enda Third World Network held from November 24 to 26, 2014 in Dakar. To get out of poverty, he advocates the popular social and solidarity economy as an alternative for a more just world.

Moussa Mbaye painted a bleak picture of the economic situation in which the vast majority of the populations of the countries of the South find themselves. According to the Executive Secretary of enda tiers monde, who cites the 2013 Global Wealth Report, in 2013, the richest 10% of the world held 86% of the world’s wealth. For him, these inequalities are not the fruit of chance, but that of the capitalist system that has finished showing its limits. This is why, he believes, the crisis of the liberal model frees the reflection on other economic models. He cites as examples the circular economy, the collaborative economy, the positive economy, the ecological economy and the social and solidarity economy among others.

The Executive Secretary of enda tiers monde believes that the solution does not only lie in the redistribution of wealth. For him, the challenge is also and above all to develop a decarbonized and non-wasteful economy, which optimizes the use of each resource employed and promotes a sustainable management of resources and the environment. It also calls for the structural transformation of economies by insisting on the role and scope of the popular social and solidarity economy.

Showing the weight of the popular economy, known as informal, Mr. Moussa Mbaye said that the scattering of the so-called informal sectors, the fragility of some businesses and the weakness of their geographical hold, the illegality of some of their activities, and the low contributions to national taxation obscure the fact that this « sector » is one of the major contributors to the GDP of the Southern economies. He recalls that recent attempts to estimate the contribution of the informal economy to GDP place this contribution between 7 and 38% of total GDP in 14 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, and between 16 and 32% in Asia.

For example, in West Africa, he points out, the popular economy, known as informal, contributes 90% or more of employment, while formal employment in the private sector is truly rare and concerns between 1 and 5% of the active population. Even the IMF is forced to recognize today that « in the absence of major structural changes and/or a significant acceleration in real GDP growth, the informal sector and agriculture will remain the main sources of employment in low-income countries for a long time to come. For Mr. Mbaye, « whatever its disadvantages in terms of lost tax revenues, for example, the so-called informal economy cannot be ignored, given its weight in real dynamics but also its opportunities.

Mr. Moussa Mbaye believes that, contrary to the countries of the North, the popular, social and solidarity economy corresponds to a massive reality in most countries of the South. Unfortunately, he notes that almost all the plans that should ensure the emergence in the long term do not include it, even less do they bet on it. At the very most, they decree peremptorily the need for its modernization or formalization without saying how.

For the Executive Secretary of enda tiers monde, the answers may differ, as may the approaches. He thinks that we can develop a prospective approach following an analysis of the trends and the elaboration of scenarios. Or, opt for a normative approach guided by ethical objectives, by analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of the current system and by identifying strategies to influence the desirable.

*Executive Secretary of Enda Third World