By Michael Oche
Amidst fear of global increase in unemployment rate as projected by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) has called on governments across Africa to take urgent steps to strengthen the continent’s economies to raise productivity and living standards
The ILO World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2024 released in early January projects that global unemployment is expected to rise this year, with growing inequality and stagnant productivity also a cause for concern.
ITUC-Africa in its reaction to the report said African leaders must prioritise inclusive and sustainable economic recovery, invest in quality job creation, and address vulnerabilities exacerbated by the climate crisis.
In a statement on Monday by its General Secretary, Comrade Akhator Joel Odigie, the regional organisation which represents the interest of African workers said the ILO report aligns with the need to rethink the ideals of fairness, inclusion, and equality at the heart of stability.
“Based on the pieces of evidence of the report, our organisation, the ITUC Africa, is compelled to renew its call on the African governments to strengthen domestic economies through home-grown pragmatic and imaginative initiatives to raise productivity and living standards undertaken inclusively,” Odigie said in the statement.
He said ITUC-Africa welcomes the findings presented in the Trends 2024 report as a valuable resource for understanding the challenges and opportunities facing the global workforce, specifically for Africa in this instance.
Odigie said the report’s insights into skills development and job creation align with ITUC-Africa’s commitment to empowering workers through advocacy for fair wages, improved working conditions, and enhanced employability and productivity, especially in the era of industry 4.0.
He said, “ITUC Africa acknowledges the challenges posed by the informal economy, and we share the ILO’s concern for the need to address job insecurity, lack of social protection, and exploitation prevalent in informal work arrangements, which is skewed more against women.
“We are committed to further our advocacy for and collaboration in efforts to formalise the informal economy through friendly business registration policies, enterprise support and incubation schemes, skills development (Technical, Vocational) Education and Training TVET, and apprenticeship programmes), social protection provisions and enabling civil liberties’ preservation ecosystems.”
The ITUC-Africa reiterated its call for promoting the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, and providing a safe and secure working environment, saying that they are essential to driving and achieving a robust and productive economy.
ITUC-Africa scribe said the regional organisation appreciates the emphasis on promoting decent work and the need for strengthened social protection measures, noting that these aspects are fundamental to ensuring the well-being and dignity of workers.
“It is unacceptable when those who create wealth are always given the short end of the stick whilst a tiny minority appropriates the economic gains,” Odigie said, adding that “decent work, social protection, and climate resilience must be at the forefront of policy agendas to build a more equitable and sustainable future for all Africans.”