Social Economy and Innovation

Tackling informality in Colombia with the social and solidarity economy


versión en español


Addressing informality requires novel multidimensional strategies that integrate a range of policies. Supporting social and solidarity economy development can contribute to this effort. 

This project is developed by the OECD Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED) Programme and is supported by Colombia.

  • What's the issue?

In Colombia, a considerable share of the population works in the informal sector and lacks social protection and pensions rights. Despite solid economic growth and government efforts, Colombia’s informality rate remains high at over 60% of total employment. To ensure greater well-being and inclusive growth for its citizens, Colombia is looking for innovative solutions to address this important issue.

Addressing informality requires novel multidimensional strategies that integrate a range of policies. Supporting social and solidarity economy (SSE) development can contribute to this effort. The SSE represents around 4% of Colombia’s GDP, and nearly 7 million Colombians are affiliated to SSE organisations such as cooperatives, mutual associations and employee funds. SSE models are built around a holistic approach to human and economic development that promotes people over capital and fosters socio-economic initiatives that strengthen co-operation and social cohesion. SSE organisations typically facilitate access to training, formal work, property, information and equitable distribution of benefits to their members. In Colombia, the promotion of conducive and tailored SSE ecosystems can significantly help unleash the social and solidarity economy’s full potential for tackling informality and its impacts, and provide solutions to support the transition to formal work in many economic sectors.


  • What can the OECD offer?

The OECD has pioneered work and significantly expanded practical knowledge on the social economy, social enterprises and social innovation for over two decades. Our work has since demonstrated the major role that the social economy plays in local job creation, social inclusion, economic growth and the green transition.

The OECD can support Colombia in implementing its strategic priorities in the area of formalisation of workers through social and solidarity economy models. In order to do this, the OECD will organise focus groups with Colombian stakeholders to compile key information and insights; conduct three workshops to foster mutual learning, exchange and sharing of international good practices; and produce an analytical paper with main conclusions and recommendations for Colombia. 



Published 29 July 2022

Read the OECD publication



23 March 2022 | Social economy information systems to support policy making

22 March 2022 | Social economy practices and informality in Colombia

9 December 2021 | The Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystem in Colombia 


Read the workshop highlights 


Colombia and the social and solidarity economy

On 22 March 2022, Marta Lucía Ramírez de Rincón, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, spoke about the measures Colombia is taking to strengthen the social economy, and how Colombia's investment in the social economy can help tackle the country's high informality rate.

Read the speech in English


Colombia benefits from a longstanding tradition of supporting the social and solidarity economy

It was one of the first countries in Latin America to adopt a framework law on the solidarity economy (Law 454 of 1998). The Colombian Political Constitution of 1991 also acknowledges the government's duty to promote, protect and strengthen the associative and solidary forms of property.


Today, public initiatives support the social and solidarity economy in tackling informality

  • The National Development Plan 2018-2022 (Law 1955 of 2019) contains a “Pact for Entrepreneurship, Formalisation and Productivity” that explicitly aims at promoting entrepreneurship and reducing informality.
  • The Social Laboratory for Productive Inclusion under the leadership of the Vice-presidency, implements pilot projects to promote the productive inclusion of informal workers. Through these initiatives, the Colombian Government expects to support the creation of 55 social and solidarity economy organisations by August 2022.
  • The Integral Intervention Programme seeks to promote solidarity practices and the development of social and solidarity economy organisations in the country’s most vulnerable communities.




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