Decent work for Africa's development

Conference paper | 26 October 2005
The tripartite constituents of the ILO in Africa are meeting at a time
when the nations of the continent are creating institutions that promise to set
in motion a dynamic process of development founded on their own collective
endeavours. We need to make sure that a decisive step is taken in Africa’s
struggle to gain control of its own destiny, realize the full potential of its
people and natural resources and break out of the trap of widespread and debilitating
The foundations for Africa’s development are the work of its people on
farms, in mines, in factories and offices – and of those toiling in the back
alleys and on the street corners of the massive informal economy of the
region. African employers, unions and employment and labour ministers
know better than anyone the challenges of creating opportunities for women
and men to work productively and earn for themselves a decent livelihood.
Some of the barriers to a faster pace of job creation and poverty reduction
lie in the unfair nature of the emerging system of rules governing international
economic relations. Others are to be found inside Africa itself.
Action to overcome these obstacles to development is urgently needed. Few
organizations are better placed than the ILO, with its roots embedded in the
world of work and its capacity to dialogue with major international institutions,
to address these challenges.