Johannesburg: 12th African Regional Meeting

Press release | Johannesburg | 14 October 2011

Johannesburg, 14 October 2011 (ACTRAV INFO)- The Delegates attending the 12th African Regional Meeting, which was held in Johannesburg from 11 to 14 October, expressed their concern at the increase in youth unemployment, the persistent poverty and inequalities and the growth of the informal economy and precarious employment on the continent.

This Meeting, which brought together ministers and government representatives as well as the leaders of the employer and worker organizations, noted in its conclusions that "there was now recognition across the continent that social dialogue was a key governance mechanism and there was better institutionalization and availability of frameworks for social dialogue."

In the follow-up to the Decent Work Agenda in Africa (2007-2015), which was adopted by the Regional Meeting in Addis Ababa in 2007, the Johannesburg Meeting recognized that progress had been achieved in implementing the Decent Work Agenda in Africa (2007–15) while acknowledging that some of the targets lagged behind, in particular those related to gender equality, youth employment, migration, forced labour, HIV and AIDS at the workplace, social protection and implementation of international labour standards.

A further priority objective is the promotion of youth employment on the continent. The participants expressed "grave concern" over the high rates of youth unemployment and underemployment. The Meeting stated in its conclusions that "recent events in parts of Africa have shown that youth demand not only decent jobs, but also rights, justice, equity and participation."

The concept of the social protection floor, which is widely accepted by the ILO constituents in Africa, is a priority on the continent, where the majority of working populations are employed in the informal economy. In its conclusions, the Meeting "deplored that workers and operators in the informal economy were affected by severe decent work deficits in terms of rights, incomes and working conditions, protection, voice and representation."

With regard to the promotion and implementation of international labour standards, the Meeting recognized that "African countries had made impressive progress in ratifying the ILO's eight core Conventions, although problems persisted with implementation." The Participants called on the workers' and employers' organizations to take an active part in the standard-setting process and its follow-up at the national level.

The delegates attending this 12th Regional Meeting paid a special tribute to the ILO Director-General, Juan Somavia, who was attending the last African Regional Meeting of his tenure.

For more information, contact:

Rawane MBAYE
Specialist in workers’activities
Desk Officer for Africa
Tel : +41 22 799 7616
Email : mbaye[at]ilo[dot]org