Project BackgroundCotton, textile and garments production plays an important role in the Egyptian economy. The cotton supply chain is developed and 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.
After years of declining production, Egyptian cotton is again on the rise. A currency devaluation, new policies to increase yields and improve quality, and high farm-gate prices are encouraging farmers to expand cotton cultivation areas and increase production. Under this new economic environment, cotton exports are expected to rise during the coming years, while imports decrease marginally.
Egyptian cotton is globally recognized for its high quality, which in turn has fuelled a textile cluster that has historically been a highly important component of the country economy.
The textile industry is the second largest sector after agriculture, representing 25 per cent of industrial production. It is the third largest contributor to GDP after tourism and income from the Suez Canal. Garments exports were valued USD 1.25 billion in 2016. The entire sector is reported to provide one million jobs, around half of them to women, and it is, alongside food processing, the principal employer nationwide.
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 climatic conditions and subject to volatility of international cotton prices.
Child labour- including worst forms of child labour- is common in cotton production: reportedly the sector employs millions of children each year to cultivate, harvest and process it.
The Government has expressed strong political will in tackling child labour, building on some advancement made concluded to the launching of its “National Action Plan for Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour and Supporting Families 2018-2025” that aims to provide timelines and identify roles of the Governmental agencies responsible for assisting children engaged in child labour.
Project ObjectivesThe overarching goal of the project is to “Accelerate the elimination of child labour in Africa”. Egypt Chapter of the project focuses on eliminating child labour in the cotton, textile and ready-made garment (RMG) value chain.
The Project strategy builds on lessons learned from ILO’s decades of programme implementation on child labour. It also builds on the experience of the ILO with tripartite constituents at global, national and local level, and with actors along global supply chains and the private sector.
Through an integrated approach, the project seeks to promote enhanced national legislation and policies, to address the basic needs and rights of children engaged or at risk of child labour, while adopting an integrated area based approach, embedded in a value chain approach including cooperation with local industry and international buyers to achieve better compliance with international labour standards and reach more international market share for Egypt.
- Governments and primarily labour, education, social solidarity, agriculture, trade and industry ministries, and other relevant government bodies at the national and subnational levels;
- National Council for Motherhood and Childhood;
- employers’ organizations, industry associations and their members;
- workers’ organizations and their members;
- actors along the supply chains, including investors (finance sector), buyers, traders, cooperative organizations and SMEs;
- community, traditional and religious leaders;
- civil society organizations and research/ academic institutions;
- UN Organizations;
- development partners.
- Children and their families working at any level of the cotton, textile, and RMG production chains;
- key ministries and other governmental agencies and national councils;
- employers’ and workers’ organizations, and;
Project OutcomesOutcome 1: Policy, legal and institutional frameworks are improved and enforced to address child labour in global supply chains.
Outcome 2: Innovative and evidence-based solutions that address the root causes of child labour in supply chains are institutionalized.
Outcome 3: Strengthening partnership and knowledge sharing among global supply chain actors working in Africa.