This figure embodies the challenge that remains in order to reach Target 8.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The new ILO project “Accelerating action for the elimination of child labour in supply chains in Africa” (ACCEL Africa) has the overreaching goal to accelerate the elimination of child labour in Africa, through targeted actions in selected supply chains such as cocoa, coffee, cotton, gold and tea.
It covers 6 countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria and Uganda.
The project builds on lessons learned from over 25 years of the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) and overall ILO experience.
« We will work in areas such as public policy and good governance, empowerment and representation, and partnership and knowledge sharing among global supply chain actors working in Africa, » said Minoru Ogasawara, the ILO’s ACCEL Africa Chief technical advisor.
“The supply chains approach is at the heart of the project. While the focus is mainly on the lowest tiers of the supply chain, it will involve work with informal networks, supply, production and national and international markets, » he added.
In addition, ACCEL Africa will be supported by continuous research and identification of good practices from the project implementation and from other sources.
Taking action in Egypt
The ILO project in Egypt will mainly focus on the cotton supply chain. It covers the cultivation of cotton, the production of yarns and fabrics such as spinning, weaving, dying and knitting, as well as the manufacturing of a range of garments.
The textile industry is the country’s second largest sector after agriculture, providing one million jobs, around half of them to women.
However, cotton-growing is also widely known to be a high risk activity with low margins of profit for many producers, as it is greatly affected by climate conditions and subject to volatility of international cotton prices.
Child labour – including the worst forms of child labour – is common in cotton production. The reality is that the sector employs many children each year to cultivate, harvest and process it.
However, the government of Egypt has expressed strong political will in tackling child labour following the launch of a National Action Plan for Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour and Supporting Families (2018-2025).
The project will also rely on the support from workers’ and employers’ organizations.