The Editors’ Post: A ‘transformational’ strategy

Why the African Union's 10-year strategy matters; and why – psychopaths and certain CEOs excepted – we all need to battle imposter syndrome. This week's highlights from Pioneers Post.

There’s been much fanfare about the European Union’s “once in a decade” Social Economy Action Plan, unveiled in late 2021. Lesser known internationally, perhaps, is the African Union’s ten-year strategy for the social and solidarity economy, agreed in 2022. The strategy isn’t even available online yet, Pioneers Post was told – but it has already been billed “transformational” in its recognition of informal entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs in Africa often run tiny, unregistered ventures – from women’s self-help groups to community-based irrigation systems to burial societies – as one expert pointed out at this week’s Social Enterprise World Forum event. Acknowledging this nuance was “a profound shift” in thinking, she said – and would allow governments to create the right policies to support them.

Policymakers might look to Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirates, for inspiration. Impact investing fans everywhere tend to highlight the benefits of such capital for social enterprises, but “in practice, a strategy to join up demand- and supply-side players is often missing”, writes our contributor, who is also an expert advisor to Abu Dhabi’s public body responsible for driving social innovation. Often the kind of investment offered doesn’t fit with what’s most needed, but Abu Dhabi’s multi-pronged programme – the first of its kind for a Gulf regional authority – ensures that progress on the demand and supply sides move in tandem.

Jumping into the unknown

More no-nonsense advice from Liam Black this week, in the latest instalment from his book, How to lead with purpose: Lessons in life and work from the gloves-off mentor. This time, he broaches something we’ve probably all dealt with (“except for psychopaths and some FTSE 100 CEOs”): imposter syndrome. Through stories of some of the entrepreneurs he has worked with over the years, Black shows how this negativity manifests itself – and how it can be turned into something more helpful. Starting a social venture requires a leap into the unknown, and there are plenty of good reasons not to take that leap – don’t let imposter syndrome be one of them.  


ChangeNow, happening now

The organisers describe it as “the largest event of solutions for the planet” – if you’re reading this, there’s a reasonable chance you’re in Paris too, for the ChangeNow summit. My colleague Laura Joffre is reporting from the event and, as I write this, chairing what’s set to be a fascinating discussion on degrowth and a wellbeing economy. Stay tuned for more from us soon.


This week’s top stories:

New African strategy praised for recognising significance of social enterprises in informal economy

Gender-lens US$15bn investment target beaten in 2X Challenge

Opinion: Abu Dhabi's unique efforts are helping social enterprises to thrive


Header image: the African Union building in Addis Ababa

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