The current Social Entrepreneurship (SE) landscape is demarcated into geo-political sub-regions and the networks have pioneered substantial work to position Social Enterprises (SEs) in the policy arena, attract capital and support the sector’s entrepreneurs. However, a consensus emerged for a platform for interaction of the sub-regional networks across the continent. The proposed entity might look to aggregate issues from the sub-regions and leverage resources into the regions and jurisdictions.
The proposed network will also provide a platform for more cohesive sectoral dialogue; engaging Pan-African institutions such as the African Union (AU), Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), etc; SE sector delineation through consensual & robust definition of the SEs & social value; operational protocols; establishing baseline norms and governance guidelines, in essence delimiting the landscape for SEs.
ASEN seeks to foster the decentralized but coordinated development of SE, SEs & the African Social Economy. It will do this through the explicit mandate from its core affiliates, South Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network (SASEN), East Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network (EASEN), West Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network (WASEN), Central Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network (CASEN) and North Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network (NASEN), to be responsible for the key objectives listed herein, and actively encourage each affiliate to assume a specific character that best responds to the objective conditions SEs face in their respective circumstances.
The main goal is to ensure that ASEN’s objectives are guided by the most effective way of supporting regional SEs to achieve their corporate aims, and the long term development of the Social economy across Africa come through. Limited regional integration has been a constraint on Africa’s ability to accelerate equitable growth. Closer regional integration will help tackle the region’s most pressing supply-side constraints by enlarging markets, generating economies of scale in provision of public goods and services while facilitating greater global trade alliance.
Despite all the obstacles faced by SEs in Africa, there is a growing recognition of their important role in developing robust economies. These efforts will need to become more sustained and systematic in the future.
We need to therefore identify the most effective, replicable and sustainable models and principles that work across SEs in Africa to provide the necessary resources for its organic growth.This calls for the need to develop a working plan and timeline by way of integrating SASEN, EASEN, WASEN, CASEN and NASEN into ASEN’s objectives to facilitate sustainable regional development in Africa.