An event brings together young people in Ivory Coast to discuss the opportunities of the Social and Solidary Economy

On July 15, 16 and 17 of the current year, the International Forum of Young Leaders on the So-cial and Solidary Economy was held, organized by the Plateforme des Organisations de Jeunesse de Toulepleu and the Assembly of Regions and Districts of the Ivory Coast (ARDCI) at Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast. The intention of the event was to gather and offer opportunities for trai-ning and contact between 200 women and young people from 20 French-speaking regions, throug four different themes: Cooperatives and social entrepreneurship, Social finance, Territorial training and social and solidary economy, and Resilience of companies and actors of the social and solidary economy in the COVID-19 period.

The event was inaugurated by Eugene Aka Aouelé, President of ARDCI and the Sud Comoé Region, with the participation of the Mayor of Grand-Bassam and the General Commissioner of the 2020 Forum, as well as the ambassador and President of the event. Later, on that first day, the inaugural conference on the Development of the Social and Solidary Economy took place: The case of the Seoul Metropolitan Area, followed by the panel Leadership for new territories: social entrepreneurship, the revolution of solutions? 

The second day was dedicated to two panels; one on the Autonomy of young people and attrac-tion of territories: mechanisms to support the financing of projects for women and young people, and another on The role of decentralized cooperation in the process of territorial anchoring of the Social and Solidary Economy. That second day was accompanied by a time for the participants to briefly present their projects, talk about financing opportunities and the closing of the event. Fi-nally, the third day was dedicated for the participants to have the opportunity to learn about the tourist and historical heritage of the South Comoé Region.

The event was full of opportunities to share and enrich the experiences of participants from all over the world, with the aim of creating a platform of common visions, through collaboration and cooperation, to create an inclusive, just, solidary, equitable, democratic and human rights focused world, highlighting the role of regional governments and social entrepreneurship schemes, as well as social and solidary economies, to face current challenges, specially in light of global phenome-na such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a final product, the Grand Bassam Declaration emerged from the Forum, in order to deter-mine how to strengthen collaboration and commercial exchanges between individuals and social enterprises, always taking into account the health measures born to contain the COVID-19 pan-demic, but also the current job creation needs around the world. In this regard, the Declaration has declared itself firm that economic development must be at the service of communities and territories without leaving anyone behind.

In this sense, the representatives of the social companies and the participating local groups com-mitted to pursue the joint construction of public policies to face the main contemporary global challenges, prioritizing local initiatives of social and solidary economies and recognizing their needs to improve their performance in the market. Likewise, they were firm in demanding States to adopt frameworks of social and solidary economy, as well as willing to collaborate to establish ties between urban and rural territories in the world so that both have access to ethical financing schemes that allow generating more and better jobs. All the previous, taking into account the roles, responsibilities and strengths of each of the actors involved in this Forum.

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