African ministers call for ILO support to boost employment-intensive investments in infrastructure

Ministers from some 13 African countries at the 14th Regional Seminar for Labour Based Practitioners have called on the International Labour Organization (ILO) to boost its cooperation with other international partners to support employment-intensive investments in infrastructure and other sectors.

News | 07 September 2011

ACCRA, Ghana (ILO News) – Ministers from some 13 African countries at the 14th Regional Seminar for Labour Based Practitioners have called on the International Labour Organization (ILO) to boost its cooperation with other international partners to support employment-intensive investments in infrastructure and other sectors.

In a statement issued at the end of a ministerial meeting held during the 14th Regional Seminar, the ministers requested that ILO continues to engage with partners such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the European Union and the G20, and to strengthen its provision of technical advisory support on best practices, capacity building and knowledge sharing with an emphasis on advocacy and employment impact assessment.

The five-day seminar on “Public Works for Decent Jobs and Poverty Reduction: Policies and Practices” gathers more than 400 practitioners, planners, policy makers, researchers, and funding and development partners from the African region and beyond to discuss developments and share experiences and ideas on the application of employment-intensive approaches in the delivery of essential infrastructure.

The Seminar is organized by Ghana’s Ministry of Roads and Highways, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare, in collaboration with the ILO’s Employment Intensive Investment Programme (EIIP).

In a statement presented to the participants of the 14th Reginal Seminar, the President of the Republic of Ghana, HE Professor J. E. A. Mills, highlighted the key role that employment-intensive investments can play in creating jobs.

“In order to get out of the vicious cycle of poverty, the poor (especially in developing countries) require access to decent employment capable of generating decent incomes. Adoption of labour-based methods in infrastructure can provide the vital link between poverty and decent work,” said President Mills.

ILO Employment Sector Executive Director Jose Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, said “the role of infrastructure in producing a job-rich growth must be carefully considered and scrutinised, as you are doing in this Seminar, particularly in a period when every stone must be turned in search of new job opportunities for the high number of youth seeking an entry into the labour market”.

“Experience shows that a local resource-based approach can produce three to five times more direct employment than conventional methods for small-and-medium scale infrastructure. It often has a multiplier effect of about two times in the number of direct jobs created, and it increases the purchase of local goods and services by three times”, added Mr Salazar-Xirinachs.

The regional seminars for labour-based practitioners – held every two years – were originally set up by the ILO in 1990. They are now mainly self-financed, nationally-owned and organized. Over the years, they have become a major international platform for south-south learning on labour-based practices and employment-intensive investments.

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