11 December 2012; Dakar, Senegal
Dakar (ILO News) – The ECOWAS Ministers of Labour, Employment and Social Affairs adopted – 7th December 2012 in Dakar, Senegal - new Actions Plan on Youth Employment and for the elimination of Child labour in the West African Sub-region.
The Ministers adopted four key instruments – developed with technical support from the ILO – namely: the ECOWAS Youth Employment Action Plan, the ECOWAS Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labour, particularly its worst forms, the ECOWAS General Convention for Social security and its administrative arrangements as well as the Supplementary Act establishing the ECOWAS tripartite Social Dialogue Forum.
“There is a need to safeguard the Children’s future, give hope to the youth and improve social security”, Minister of Labour, Employment, Social Affairs and Vocational Training of Cote d’Ivoire, H.E. Mr. Moussa Dossou said.
ECOWAS Member States were urged to develop and ensure the implementation of National Youth Employment Action Plans and to establish Youth Employment Funds for easy access to credit by youth in the sub region.
“There is an urgent need of finding a solution to youth unemployment and the necessity to provide adequate training”, ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop underscored.
The Action Plan aims at improving youth employability and job creation in the ECOWAS region. Priority intervention areas include youth employability through education and vocational/technical training; youth engagement in private sector development; labour market information systems; and intra-regional mobility for young workers.
Mr. Francois Murangira, ILO Director for DWT/CO Dakar, expressed ILO’s satisfaction at the commitment made by ECOWAS to Member States to effectively address the youth employment crisis.
ECOWAS countries were also urged to strengthening the institutional mechanism for monitoring and evaluation of actions related to the elimination of child labour, particularly the peer review mechanism.
The AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, called on ECOWAS and its Member States to strengthen regional and national follow-up institutions essential to the implementation of the Ouagadougou Plan of Action (2004).
ECOWAS Member States were also urged to take the requisite measures to facilitate access to social protection for rural workers and the informal economy.
The ninth Ordinary Session of the Labour and Social Affairs Commission of the African Union will be held from 8 – 12 April 2013, in Addis Ababa Ethiopia under the theme: “Enhancing the Capacity of Labour Market Institutions in Africa to meet Current/Future Challenges”.
South Africa, for example, introduced new minimum wage floors in 2002 to support the earnings of millions of low-paid workers in a variety of economic sectors, including domestic work.