Samoa became a member of the ILO in 2005 and by 2008, had ratified all 8 fundamental Conventions. In celebration of the 90 years of the ILO, Samoa and her tripartite partners signed the Samoa Decent Work Country Programme on 28 April 2009 for the years 2009-2012. The document lists the following 3 priorities:
- Priority 1: Modernisation of labour law;
- Priority 2: Promotion of decent employment opportunities, particularly for young women and men, and inclusive of persons with disabilities; and
- Priority 3: Capacity building of tripartite partners and improvement of social dialogue.
ILO has enjoyed cordial relations with Samoa’s tripartite partners – the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour (MCIL), the Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Samoa Public Service Association and this was reflected in Samoa’s bid to host the main celebrations of the 90 years of ILO in 2009.
Sound economic management and high governance standards have led to strong economic growth in recent years. The performance of the tourism industry has been particularly successful however the Samoan economy remains vulnerable due to remoteness, income volatility, limited economic diversification, susceptibility to natural disasters, environmental damage and limited institutional capacity. Samoa relies heavily on development assistance as well as on private remittances from overseas.
In 2006, Samoa’s population was approximately 180,000:
- The population is highly youthful with a median age of only 19.7;
- The estimated annual population growth rate is only 0.8 per cent which, due to considerable emigration, is lower than in most other Pacific Island countries;
- The major challenges faced by Samoa’s many young people are rural to urban migration and the inability of the Samoan economy to provide sufficient paid employment to the majority of its youth; and
- Currently, there is not a complete labour force survey in Samoa nor is there a plan to conduct one in the near future.