New partnership between the Government of Norway and the International Labour Organization to improve working conditions in Malawi’s tobacco sector

This new project is well aligned to the strategic priorities of development cooperation between Norway and Malawi, which include a focus on the agriculture sector and respect for human rights, as well as with Norway’s global development cooperation priorities regarding the elimination of modern slavery and child labour.

Feature | 08 December 2020
Photo: Mother carrying her baby on her back while working in tobacco fields in Kasungu, Malawi, March 2013. © International Labour Organization (ILO). Photographer: Crozet M.
Lilongwe, Tuesday 8 December 2020 – The Government of Norway and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have today signed a partnership agreement for a new development cooperation project to improve working conditions and access to rights in Malawi’s tobacco sector.

The overall objective of the new project is to support the Government of Malawi and employers’ organizations and workers’ organizations in the country to effectively address decent work deficits in the tobacco sector and ensure access to fundamental principles and rights at work as a means to improve livelihoods, incomes and food security.

The new project, entitled ‘Addressing decent work deficits and improving access to rights in Malawi’s tobacco sector’, and valued at almost USD $2 million, will be implemented over four years through to 2024.

“Today marks an exciting new moment in our joint efforts to promote decent work for all in Malawi. The renewed cooperation that we are initiating today is built on the strong foundation established by the ILO’s global integrated strategy to address decent work deficits in the tobacco sector and is further framed by the Alliance 8.7 global multi-stakeholder action platform to eliminate modern slavery, child labour, forced labour, and human trafficking, for which Malawi is a pathfinder country”, said the Director of the ILO Country Office for Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique Mr. George Okutho at the signing ceremony for the project held today.

“Implementation of this new project will benefit from synergies with the ILO’s existing portfolio of development cooperation projects in Malawi, including especially our ACCEL Africa child labour project”, elaborated Mr. Okutho.

Mr. Ørnulf Strøm, Minister Counsellor, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Development Cooperation of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe, speaking at the signing ceremony, said that: “The Government of Norway is proud to be commencing this new chapter in our longstanding partnership with the ILO. This new project is well aligned to the strategic priorities of development cooperation between Norway and Malawi, which include a focus on the agriculture sector and respect for human rights, as well as with Norway’s global development cooperation priorities regarding the elimination of modern slavery and child labour”.

Tobacco accounts for approximately 60 per cent of Malawi’s exports and approximately 10 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Estimates suggest that Malawi’s tobacco sector directly employs more than 600,000 people.

A United Nations agency founded more than one hundred years ago in 1919, the International Labour Organization (ILO) brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 countries to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. Malawi has been a member of the ILO since 1965.

The ILO is implementing a portfolio of projects in Malawi relating to child labour, social protection, skills, and HIV/AIDS in the workplace, within the framework of the country’s second Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP).

Norway’s engagement in development cooperation with Malawi dates back more than 20 years. The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe was formally opened in 1999. Today, Malawi is among Norway’s main development partners, in terms of programmes and their volume. Norway’s priority sectors in Malawi include agriculture, health, education and governance.

Contact:

1. Dylan Van Tromp, Senior Project Officer, ACCEL Africa, International Labour Organization (ILO) vantromp@ilo.org

2. Lillian Prestegard, First Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe Lillian.Prestegard@mfa.no