Director presents credentials to COMESA

ILO Director Presents Credentials to COMESA Secretary General

The ILO Director has presented his credentials to COMESA Secretary General as special representative for the regional grouping.

News | Lusaka | 31 July 2019
ILO Country Office Director George Okutho says the ILO stands ready to work with COMESA to foster development through the harmonization of qualifications within the regional grouping.
And COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe has hailed the partnership between the trade bloc and the ILO.
Speaking after the presentation of his credentials as special representative at the COMESA Headquarters in Lusaka on 30th July 2019, Mr. Okutho said there was for deliberate effort to harness the growing youth population to exploit the potential of the region.
“Many things are changing, we know about the technological innovations that are taking place. We know about the robotics that are taking place automations that are taking place. We also see the demographics challenges. In Africa, we are talking about the young population. In most African countries, you will find that the young people below the age of 35 account for 70 percent of the population. The population is generally very young. We could derive some demographics dividends from this population,” he said.
Mr. Okutho called for increased partnerships with the regional trade bloc, stating that there was need to extend social protection in the region.
“COMESA’s responsibility of areas of trade, the customs union, and promotion of harmonization of standards is very close to the ILO agenda. As you all know our work centres on promotional of employment opportunities in condition of freedom, dignity and human rights. We also want to promote social protection coverage for almost 100 percent from where we are now. This is just between five to four percent populations on average,” said Mr. Okutho. “Of course, there are countries that are doing relatively well and there are countries that are still need to cover a lot of group. Around all that is the promotion of dialogue, we call those social dialogues because we believe that there is nothing cannot be discussed and amicable solutions arrived at. We work through our tripartite bodies; the workers, employers and the governments.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Kapwepwe said COMESA had made headways in finalising the 20 million Euros regional project, the Southern Africa Cross Regional programme on migration, addressing irregular migration and promoting regular labour mobility within the region to support trade and investment.
“To this effect the, the Regional Director of the International Labour Organization for the Southern Region visited COMESA recently to understand the priorities of COMESA in terms of free movement of persons and labour mobility. This will enhance cooperation between our organizations,” said Ms. Kapwepwe. “Further, COMESA would like to work with ILO on issues such as Mutual Recognition of Qualifications in order to facilitate trade in services in the region. It would be very prudent to jointly identify additional programmes that we could implement together for the benefit of entire COMESA region more especially borrowing from the country programmes and sharing of experiences to other member states across the region.”