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Director-General's mission to Côte d'Ivoire

ILO Director-General welcomes Côte d'Ivoire's action on social protection

During his visit to Abidjan, ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo, stressed the need to promote decent work in the cocoa sector.

Press release | 27 February 2023
Gilbert F. Houngbo, the ILO's Director-General in a cocoa plantation in Agboville (Côte d'Ivoire) picking a pod © ILO
ABIDJAN (ILO News) – During a working visit to Abidjan, his second official trip to Africa, ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo, praised the actions of the Government of Côte d'Ivoire in the area of social protection. During his visit, which took place from 22 to 24 February, he met with national authorities, tripartite constituents and ILO staff.

Mr. Houngbo met with Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, Vice-President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, and with Adama Kamara and Kandia Kamara, Ministers of Employment and Social Protection and Foreign Affairs respectively. The Director-General, accompanied by the German Ministers of Labour and Cooperation, stressed the need to promote decent work in the supply chains of the cocoa sector, of which Côte d'Ivoire is the world's leading producer.

In Agboville, a cocoa-growing town located about 100 km east of Abidjan, Mr. Houngbo was able to get a first-hand look at the realities of the brown gold, from picking to roasting, including drying, weighing and traceability.

"This visit confirmed what we know on paper, that is, the efforts that the Ivorian government is making to reorganize and restructure the cocoa sector, in particular to ensure a decent income for producers, but also to ensure the traceability of cocoa in order to minimize the risk of child labour," said Mr Houngbo.

The ILO Director-General also participated in an information campaign on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), within the framework of the ILO's "Universal Access to Social Protection and Occupational Health and Safety through Transition to Formal Work" project. Mr. Houngbo took the opportunity to commend the efforts of the Ivorian government in the area of social protection.

"I am convinced that I will leave here with additional assurance that when we talk about universal coverage, it is not a theory, that it is actually achievable," said the Director-General. "Social protection is a question of social cohesion and social justice," he noted.

"Today, we know that in the world, 50 per cent of the population, that is to say four billion citizens, children, men and women have no social protection," recalled Mr. Houngbo who encouraged the populations concerned to subscribe to the Universal Health Coverage and, in the case of workers in the informal economy, the Social Regime for Self-Employed Workers.

The Director-General also participated in a high-level ILO conference to "promote decent work in supply chains to eliminate child labour in Côte d'Ivoire".