Big Thinking on the Hill with Dr. Caroline Shenaz Hossein

Canada’s hidden cooperative system: The legacy of the Black Banker Ladies 

Black diaspora women, known as Banker Ladies, lead solidarity economics through a form of mutual aid called Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs). Drawing on ancient African traditions, this financial exchange system holds the key to making local economies serve the needs of everyone. Canada has a rich history of corporativism, and Canadian policymakers are called on to support solidarity economies, and to ensure there is space for Black cooperators by creating a Global ROSCA Network. Valuing these informal cooperative institutions, and acknowledging the expertise of Banker Ladies, will help build an inclusive economy, bridge the gap of inequity in Canada, and by extension revolutionize Canadian international development policy. 

Dr. Caroline Shenaz Hossein is Associate Professor of Business & Society at York University in Toronto, and founder of the Diverse Solidarity Economies Collective. She is author of Politicized Microfinance: Money, power and violence in the Black Americas and editor of The Black Social Economy in the Americas: Exploring Diverse Community-Based Alternative Markets. She is also the co-editor of the forthcoming Community Economies in the Global South by Oxford University Press (2021). She holds an Ontario Early Researcher Award (2018-2023) and her project “African origins in the Social Economy” is funded by the SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2017-20).
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