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The Role of Social and Solidarity Economy in Tanzania

Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies Vol 1, No 5 (2013)

Faustine K. Bee, 2013

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Summary :

This paper attempts to discuss the role of that Social and Solidarity Economy (SSEs) in developing countries that is increasingly becoming a topical development agenda. However, there is no common definition of the SSEs. For the purposes of this paper SSE refers to specific forms of organizations and enterprises – formal and informal, which includes co-operatives, associations, mutual benefits societies, community – based organizations, social enterprises and foundations. They are distinct organizations that share certain commonalities that distinguish them from public sector and profit oriented enterprises. In some cases it is dubbed many names including the “third sector”, “Non-Profit Organizations”, or “popular economy”.

The paper identifies five forms of SSEs that actively operate in Tanzania, namely Co-operatives, NGOs, Associations, Foundations and Community based Organizations. The paper notes that all these forms of SSEs are playing critical roles in the advancement of both economic and social development of individuals, communities, and the nation as a whole through contribution to local development and poverty reduction, employment creation, provision of social services and environmental protection, improved access to financial services, and social protection, and advancement of human rights. Furthermore, they facilitate the promotion of democratic practices and good governance principles in the country.

The future of SSEs is bright given the growing social and economic ills of the contemporary world. For this reason, developing countries including Tanzania must create conducive environment for SSEs to grow and operate effectively within the national legal and socially acceptable frameworks. However, SSEs also experiences some problems and challenges as well.