Knowledge-sharing as a pathway for strengthened intra-African collaboration and accelerate action for the eilimination of child labour in supply chains.

The “Regional Conference: Knowledge Sharing for Partnerships on the Elimination of Child Labour in Supply Chains” focused on showcasing what has worked to advance the countries and regional agendas on the elimination of child labour.

Article | Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire | 28 February 2023

Conference photos here!

Abidjan, 22-23 February 2023 – Eleven African countries came together to present good practices and discuss opportunities for intra-African South-South collaboration during the ACCEL Regional Conference: Knowledge Sharing for Partnerships on the Elimination of Child Labour in Supply Chains, held in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire on 22-23 February 2023. The Conference was attended by employers’ and workers’ representatives, ministries of labour, ministries of education, the African Union, agritech companies, NGOs, and ILO specialists in diverse areas. The great and diverse participation of the event highlighted the importance of working together to tackle child labour in Africa.

The ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa, Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, addressed the audience and stressed the importance of knowledge-sharing in guiding action towards the elimination of child labour. “With 92 million girls and boys in child labour - one in five children - Africa is the most-affected region in the world”. The regional director highlighted that the Conference provided ACCEL Africa beneficiary countries and guest countries with a structured knowledge-sharing platform. As a result, the event showcased good practices that have worked in different countries, potentially enabling positive results in other countries within the region.

By sharing our knowledge, experiences, and best practices, we promote sustainable practices that protect children, improve their well-being and that of their families, and support decent employment opportunities for adults."

Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa
The Conference represented the third step in the ACCEL Knowledge-Sharing process, which began by first identifying the knowledge needs at the country level and then identifying 14 good practices that could offer solutions to these needs. Through engaging methodologies, during the event, Cōte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, and Uganda shared their experiences and good practices in the fight against child labour.

Cote d'Ivoire highlighted the importance of social protection and shared about its National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS), which formed the basis for extending health insurance benefits to cocoa farming communities. Mali discussed its Passerelle Strategy, which allows children aged 8 to 12 who are not in school or who dropped out early from school to be transferred to the formal circuit of education after nine months of teaching. Similarly, Malawi presented interesting approaches to involve sectoral stakeholders in the fight against child labour by supporting small household tea farmers and engaging with tea estates and companies.

Egypt shared how the country has worked on the improvement of the Egyptian Dual Education System (DES), which leads to a recognized qualification. Uganda, shared the important role that Employer Organizations and exporting companies have to tackle child labour in lower levels of their value chain. Finally, Nigeria introduced participants to its governance structure, which incorporates a horizontal and vertical approach and calls for a joint effort of all ministries and partners at all levels towards achieving a common goal - eliminating child labour.

The Conference also allowed participants to explore the role of the financial sector in the elimination of child labour, exemplified by the practices of Mali, Uganda, and Côte d’Ivoire. Using a market systems approach, the project has increased access to responsible financial and non-financial services to reduce poverty and vulnerability of families with children on or at risk of child labour.

This event has set in motion a new wave of intra-African South-South collaboration, where countries can work together to replicate and adapt successful strategies in their own contexts. As the project continues, the following steps will be taken:
  • Development of partnerships: The project will work with countries to mature the discussed partnerships and facilitate discussions to develop collaborative projects that can support the elimination of child labor.
  • Replication and adaptation of good practices: The project will continue to support countries in the replication and implementation of good practices. This includes providing technical assistance, sharing knowledge and resources, and facilitating peer learning opportunities.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: The project will work with countries to monitor and evaluate the implementation of good practices, identify challenges and opportunities for improvement, and share lessons learned with other countries.
By sharing best practices and exchanging ideas, delegates have laid the groundwork for transformative change in their own countries and throughout the continent. The ACCEL Regional Conference has been a crucial step towards the elimination of child labor in African supply chains, but there is still much work to be done. The project will continue to work with countries, stakeholders, and partners to achieve this goal of decent work for adults and a brighter future for children throughout the region.

47 delegates from 11 countries were invited to participate in the event.