Sixty Years of Africa’s Participation in ILO: Expectations from African Ministers of Employment
The International Labour Organization has just ended its 108th session in Geneva, Switzerland and the session marked the centenary celebrations of the organization. Africa’s participation in the ILO is six decades old.
The Africa Group session was held at Geneva on Tuesday, 18th June, 2019. Emanating from the African Group discussion are some responsibilities placed on the shoulders of Ministers of Employment and Labour.
This article discusses some of the expectations as contained in the address by the African Regional Director of the ILO, Madam Cynthia Samuel Olunguwon.
One major responsibility the session places on African Ministers of Employment and Labour is to ensure gender parity in ILO activities. The organization bemoaned the fewer number of female participants in the 2018 session. Though the 2019 session was an improvement on the previous ones, the disparity between male-female participation was still huge.
The organization therefore entreated African Ministers of Employment and Labour relations to ensure gender parity in Employment and labour related activities.
Another expectation from the African Ministers of Employment and Labour Relations was to ensure high level political fora on Sustainable Development.
This ought to be done in line with the tenets and demands of the United Nations (UN). Sustainable Development Goals especially SDG-8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). It is now time for African Ministers to adopt measures and make recommendations to eradicate harassment and violence at work places as prescribed by the ILO.
Similarly, having joined the Global Youth Employment Initiatives, it behoves on modern African Leaders of Employment and Labour relations to ensure decent jobs for the youth to safeguard the next generation of African Youth.
This session therefore expects African Ministers of Employment and Labour Relations to implement policies and programmes that attract the youth into decent occupations. Another expectation on the door steps of African Ministers of Employment and Labour Relations is the regular payment of ILO dues and arrears to maintain their voting rights. African Ministers and Leaders are to constantly engage the six African countries who are yet to ratify the 1986 Amendment of ILO to ratify the amendment.
It would be recalled that as at Monday, 24th June, 2019, six member states from the African region, 21 from the Americas, 25 from the European region and 25 from Asian and the Pacific have not yet ratified the Amendment.
Meanwhile, the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) has now been ratified by many African countries. It has therefore now become incumbent on African Ministers of Employment and Labour activists to play leadership roles in CFTA discussions across the continent to ensure, among other things, free movement of goods and services, free movement of business persons and investment as we seek to create a single continental market.