Launch of the ITEF Platform: a private sector initiative supported by the ACCEL Africa project to strengthen the engagement and efforts in the fight against child labour and forced labour in Côte d’Ivoire.

The ITEF platform aims to advocate with public authorities on the expectations of the private sector and contribute to the reporting system, particularly in the context of the ILO standards. The purpose is to position Côte d'Ivoire as a responsible sourcing destination by improving its long-term access to global markets.

Article | Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. | 25 June 2022
Abidjan, June 24, 2022 - The General Confederation of Enterprises of Côte d'Ivoire (CGECI) launched a platform called “Private sector Initiative for the fight against child labour and forced labour” (ILTEF –EP - Initiative de Lutte contre le Travail des Enfants et le travail Forcé des Entreprises Privées): PLATEFORME ITEF | CGECI.

With the support of the ACCEL Africa project, the creation of the platform reflects the commitment of the CGECI and its members to contribute more actively to the fight against child labour and the worst forms of labour. The objective of the platform is to create a dense network of companies committed to the cause, with the aim of emphasizing the important contributions of private sector actors and pool efforts to improve the formulation of programs and interventions. As the executive director of the CGECI, Stéphane Aka-Anghui, indicated during the ceremony, the platform is an instrument to raise awareness among companies, promote experience and knowledge sharing, ensure monitoring, align private sector approaches with government standards, and give more visibility to corporate initiatives aimed at contributing to the elimination of child labour.

The platform also aims to advocate with public authorities on the expectations of the private sector and contribute to the reporting system, particularly in the context of the ILO standards. The purpose is to position Côte d'Ivoire as a responsible sourcing destination by improving its long-term access to global markets.

As underlined by Mrs Sophie De Conick, Specialist in Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, representing the ILO Country Director in Cote d’Ivoire, the network of companies – already counting, as members, 2 employers' organizations (CGECI, FIPME), 8 professional groups and 28 companies, cooperatives or associations of cooperatives - represents “a formidable instrument for mobilizing the private sector to fully play its role in the elimination of child labour and forced labour in Côte d’Ivoire”. Its establishment is an eloquent response to the Durban Call to Action adopted in South Africa at the end of May 2022 during the Vth Global Conference on Child Labour, which reaffirms the important role of employers' organizations and private sector actors in addressing the root causes of child labour and forced labour in their activities and supply chains by emphasizing the urgency of their engagement with Governments.

Against this background, Mr Ago Ebenezer, representative of the Minister of Employment and Social Protection (Adama Kamara) during the ceremony, welcomed the establishment of the network that incorporates the government's overall vision to make collaboration and cooperation effective means to achieve the elimination of child labour and forced labour, especially in the light of the emergence of new challenges that could jeopardize the progress already made in Côte d'Ivoire, particularly in the cocoa sector.

However, the business network set up by the CGECI brings added value to previous initiatives already carried out in the country. It in fact focuses on all sectors of activity and brings together not only multinational companies but also small and medium-sized enterprises, which also have an obligation to respect human rights, by representing an important link between the upstream and downstream ladders of global supply chains. In addition, as a social partner of the government, the CGECI can through social dialogue influence laws, regulations and policies relating to child labour and forced labour but also relating to social protection, formalization, vocational training, health and safety at work, all of which contribute to combating the root causes of child labour.

The ITEF Platform is therefore a powerful instrument for private sector companies to actively engage, share information, tools, and good practices to together contribute to the implementation of concrete, scaled up and lasting changes to the condition of child labour and forced labour in Côte d'Ivoire.