ILO, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung to strengthen partnership in Africa

New Memorandum of Understanding underscores renewed commitment to social justice, with focus on workers’ rights, labour migration, youth employment and the informal economy.

News | 12 September 2019
The International Labour Organization and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen collaboration between the two institutions in the areas of social justice, workers’ rights, labour migration, youth employment and the informal sector in Africa, among others.

The agreement was signed by Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa, and Manfred Öhm, Head of the Africa Department at the FES, on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 on the sidelines of a High-Level Dialogue on How to Achieve Decent Work in the Informal Economy.

“The ILO recognizes that partnerships are key to delivery of results. And, today, we are pleased to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) to promote decent work in Africa; including for the informal economy”, Samuel-Olonjuwon said. 

“With informal employment at almost 86 percent in Africa, the importance of deliberating on policy options to promote decent work for informal workers throughout Africa cannot be overemphasized. Sub-regionally, the ILO estimates that the share of informal employment and its components in total employment is 67.3 percent in North Africa; 91.0 percent in Central Africa; 91.6 percent in Eastern Africa and 92.4 percent in Western Africa,” she said.

Established in 1919, the ILO is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019. The ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 108th session in June 2019, recognizes the urgency and importance of promoting the transition from informality in ILO member states, she said.

“This is a clear call to action as we build a brighter future of work, particularly for Africa,” said Samuel-Olonjuwon, who pointed out that African youth are more likely to be in informal employment than adults.

Signing of the agreement between ILO Africa Regional Director and the Head of FES Africa Department
The partnership with the FES aims to address workers’ education and skills; promote social protection of workers, women and youth; and improve working conditions for workers in the informal sector.

The High-Level Dialogue was organized by the ILO, the FES, and the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU), and brought together social partners and informal sector representatives, who heard from speakers from the Kenyan Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, and the Federation of Kenya Employers, the ILO, COTU, and the FES, a German political foundation that focuses on social democracy.

Read the Regional Director full speech

Contact: Jennifer Patterson, Regional Communication and Public Information Office, ILO Regional Office for Africa,