About ILO-Abuja Office

Since 1959 when the ILO opened its First African Office in Nigeria, the ILO has been providing technical cooperation assistance to Nigeria and other countries in Africa. The ILO Office in Abuja currently coordinates the implementation of the ILO Technical Assistance to five West African Countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Gambia; and also serves as the liaison office for Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The projects are implemented through close cooperation between recipient countries, donors, and the ILO.

The overall purpose of ILO technical cooperation is the implementation of the Decent Work agenda at a national level. The Abuja Office assists constituents to make this concept a reality for all men and women. The Abuja Office provides technical guidance on policy issues, and assistance in the design and implementation of the development projects and programmes.

The ILO Office in Abuja aims at achieving the four strategic objectives of the ILO (Fundamental principles and rights at work and international labour standards; Employment and income opportunities; Social protection and social security; Social dialogue and Tripartism) in the countries of operation. The identification and achievement of the objectives depends on the needs of each of the constituents as reflected in each countrys Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP). The ILO Office in Abuja mobilizes significant resources to create opportunities and to help reduce and alleviate poverty."

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Office in Nigeria was the first African Field Office (AFO) of the organization to be established. The first AFO came into existence in 1959 when the Government of the Federation of Nigeria (as it was called then) signed an agreement with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) concerning the establishment of the ILO Office in Nigeria. The agreement signed in Lagos on 14th January, 1959 came into force immediately. While Mr. J. M. Johnson signed for the Government of the Federation of Nigeria, Mr. C. W. Jenks signed for the International Labour Organisation.

The ILO Office, Abuja, maintains overall responsibility for the ILO's presence and activities in five (5) Anglophone Countries of West Africa. The Countries include Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Gambia; and also serves as the liaison office for Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It takes the lead in defining programme priorities and activities, monitoring, programme delivery, and providing support and coordination to its country structure.

The first African Field Office (AFO) of the ILO was located in Lagos and continued operating in Lagos from its inception in January 1959 to July 2004. Following relocation of the United Nations (UN) agencies in Nigeria to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the ILO moved its office from Lagos to Abuja in July 2004.

Currently, the first African Field Office (AFO) of the ILO, simply called "ILO Office in Abuja", oversees the activities of the ILO in the Anglophone West African nations of Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The ILO office in Abuja reports to the African Regional Office, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The two major functions of the Field Office as agreed to by the ILO and Nigeria include: "to furnish, at the request of any government of the area within its scope of activity, technical assistance coming within the functions of the ILO as provided by its Constitution" and "...technical assistance in conformity with the principles governing the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance of the United Nations and the specialized Agencies"

The ILO Office in Abuja works with governments, employers and labour organisations in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone as their constituents. It secures technical support for its projects in these four Anglophone countries from ILO Regional Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and ILO Headquarters, Geneva.

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