International Labour Organization, Deputy Regional Director for Africa Visits Zambia

The Deputy Regional Director for Africa, of the International Labour Organization, Mr. Peter van Rooij is visiting Lusaka from 10th to 12th November.

Press release | Lusaka, Zambia | 22 August 2018
Mr. Peter Van Rooij was recently recruited as Deputy Regional Director for Africa, of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in June, 2018. Prior to his current appointment, Mr. Peter Van Rooij was Director of ILO Decent Work Team for North Africa and ILO Country Office for Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan from 15 January 2015. Prior to that Mr. Peter Van Rooij worked as Country Director of the ILO Jakarta Office responsible for Indonesia and Timor-leste since 2010. Since joining ILO in 1995, Mr. Peter Van Rooij has served in development projects and activities related to employment and microfinance and worked as Advisor to the Bureau for Employers’ Activities in Geneva.

Before joining the ILO, he worked as Field Implementation Officer at the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) in Khartoum, Sudan. Peter Van Rooij holds a Masters’ Degree in Economics from the Wageningen Agriculture University, Netherlands.

ILO’s Support in Africa


The 3 focus areas for the African Region include Youth Employment, Social Protection and Labour Migration.

Youth Employment


More than 64 million unemployed youth worldwide and 145 million young workers living in poverty: youth employment remains a global challenge and a top policy concern.

The ILO has had a long-standing commitment to promote decent work for youth. Supported by a unique tripartite structure that brings together key players in the world of work, including Government, employers’ and workers’ organisations. ILO’s activities on youth employment span over advocacy, knowledge development and dissemination, policy and technical support and capacity building.

The ILO Country Office for Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique supported the Government and social partners in the development of a national Work Based Learning framework as a means of addressing the skills mismatch that Zambia faces in promoting enhanced job creation particularly for the youth. The framework has been validated by tripartite plus and is yet to be launched by the Ministry of Higher Education. ILO will work closely with the tripartite plus to identify effective social dialogue mechanisms and platforms that can support implementation of skills development and employment creation interventions in Zambia.

The ILO, together with FAO and with support from the Embassy of Sweden, is implementing a rural enterprise for youth employment project “Yapasa” that takes a market systems approach in the agricultural space to support existing and potential young agripreneurs to gain a foothold in agricultural, horticulture and aquaculture supply chains, focussing on their growth orientation to generate decent employment for youths.

Furthermore, International Labour Organization (ILO) has partnered with the Government of Zambia and the country’s largest sugar manufacturing company, Zambia Sugar (ZS) to upgrade the Lubombo road and support rural communities of Mazabuka, Southern province of Zambia. The project will demonstrate the use of labour-based road paving technologies, while at the same time promoting skills and enterprise development and job creation for the rural communities in Mazabuka.

Social Protection


Only 27 per cent of the world’s population has adequate social security coverage and more than half lack any coverage at all. The ILO actively promotes policies and provides assistance to countries to help extend adequate levels of social protection to all members of society. Social security involves access to health care and income security, particularly in cases of old age, unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity or loss of a main income earner. The “Global Campaign on Social Security and Coverage for All” builds on efforts already underway in more than 30 countries. These include projects to help countries extend coverage at the national level and to strengthen community-based social security organizations.

The ILO in Zambia provides technical support through the United Nations Joint Programme on Social Protection aimed at supporting the implementation of the National Social Protection Policy. Specific focus areas of the ILO include Social Insurance, Coordination and Disability Pillars. The main interventions across these pillars include support to the expansion of social protection coverage for key Government programmes; strengthening of integrated delivery systems for social protection through technical assistance across the pillars of the policy; and to support communications, aimed at entitlements’ awareness and creating broader political support and commitment to social protection.

Labour Migration

According to the ILO global estimates on migrant workers , in 2013, migrant workers accounted for 150 million of the world’s approximately 232 million international migrants. Migrant workers contribute to growth and development in their countries of destination, while countries of origin greatly benefit from their remittances and the skills acquired during their migration experience. Yet, the migration process implies complex challenges in terms of governance, migrant workers' protection, migration and development linkages, and international cooperation. The ILO works to forge policies to maximize the benefits of labour migration for all those involved.

The ILO in Zambia is part of the Migration Technical Working Group (TWG) supporting Government with technical support to respond to migration related issues to facilitate safe and humane migration. Within the TWG, ILO brings to the fore its technical expertise within the areas of labour migration, force labour and unacceptable forms of work including child labour and practices similar to slavery.

The Future of Work Centenary Initiative

The world of work is undergoing a major process of change. In order to understand and to respond effectively to these new challenges, the International Labour Organization has launched the "Future of Work initiative" in order to advance its mandate for social justice.

In Zambia, the first series of Future of Work (FOW) dialogues focussed on youth employment were held in May and June 2017 led by the tripartite in consultation with other national stakeholders. This created further interest at the national level, with the FOW initiative being featured in a dedicated session of the 2018 National Youth Day commemoration day held on 12 March 2018. Currently, a research institution has been engaged to conduct a study that will inform national dialogue on the FOW in Zambia. The diagnostic will help deepen the understanding of the impact of transformational drivers on the world of work in Zambia including advancement in technology, digitization, globalization, climate change and changes in employment relationships. This diagnostic will generate relevant information to support meaningful and informed dialogue to position the ILO and it constituents (the tripartite plus) in effectively addressing Zambia’s future dynamics in the world of work. Follow up national level consultations, informed by the national diagnostic are planned 2018. Recommendations from these consultations will culminate into a high level national FOW forum in early 2019 facilitated by the Ministry of National Development and Planning in order to sustainably anchor recommendations on the FOW into Zambia’s medium term and long term planning.

ILO Centenary celebrations

In 2019, the International Labour Organization – the oldest UN specialized agency – celebrates its 100th anniversary. In the run up to the anniversary, seven Centenary Initiatives are being implemented – part of a package of activities aimed at equipping the Organization to take up successfully the challenges of its social justice mandate in the future.

In order to shape the future for all, the world of work has the capacity to consign poverty to history, to provide decent work and living standards universally, and to extend protection from the risks of working life to all. That potential is yet to be realized. The challenges of unemployment, underemployment, inequality and injustice are becoming more, not less, acute.

There are calls for fair globalization, for balanced and sustainable development and for economic growth that drives social progress. Action in the world of work is crucial to these objectives. At the same time, the world of work itself is rapidly evolving. The ILO is equipping itself to understand and respond to the changes in the world of work and to give leadership in the global challenge of ensuring Decent Work for all women and men.

For more information, please contact: Ms. Taonga Mshanga, mshanga@ilo.org
Tel: +260 211 252 779, Cell: +260 976 678 994