The objective of the empoyment strand of the partnership is to create more, more productive and better jobs through the promotion of sustainable and inclusive growth, acknowledging the role of all stakeholders, including social partners and the private sector. Cooperation will focus in particular on questions related to the implementation of the 2004 Ouagadougou Declaration and Action Plan on Employment and Poverty alleviation in Africa.
In the area of employment, the dialogue of the Partnership will focus on strategies and initiatives targeting job creation and sustainable and inclusive growth, acknowledging the role of relevant stakeholders, including social partners and the private sector. Furthermore, the dialogue will focus on questions related to the implementation of the Ouagadougou Action Plan and the global 'Decent Work Agenda' with special emphasis on the creation of more, more productive and better jobs in Africa and the link to social protection coverage as well as to the informal and social economy.
Joint Africa-EU Strategy: Action Plan 2011-2013
Addressing employment issues is regarded as an essential part of poverty reduction and development strategies for African countries. The Africa-EU Migration, Mobility and Employment Partnership aims to provide comprehensive responses to these employment challenges, in the interest of all partners, and has as specific objective to create of more, more productive and better jobs for Africa.
One of the priority actions of the Partnership in this context is to implement the 2004 Ouagadougou Declaration on Employment and Poverty Alleviation in Africa and its Plan of Action for Promotion of Employment and Poverty alleviation. Integrated and long term policies across a range of sectors, which are developed on the basis of national realities, whilst also responding to regional and global market needs, are often needed to create more and better jobs and inclusive and sustainable growth. Therefore it is important to involve a range of stakeholders in these efforts, such a social partners and the private sector, as well as counterparts at the regional and inter-continental levels.
The dialogue will also focus on questions related to the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda. The main aim of the Agenda is to place employment at the heart of economic and social policies. Consistent with the Millennium Development Goals, the Agenda seeks, through the creation of productive employment, to better the lives of people who are either unemployed or whose remuneration from work is inadequate to allow them and their families to escape from poverty. African leaders committed to promote the agenda by (i) implementing international labour standards and fundamental principles and rights at work; (ii) creating greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent income; (iii) strengthening the social dialogue; and (iv) enhancing the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all.
Social Protection, as one of the four strategic objectives of the Decent Work agenda includes the coverage and effectiveness of social security schemes; labour protection, such as wages, working hours and occupational health and safety; and programmes dedicated to protecting vulnerable groups. Access to adequate social protection is recognised by international labour standards as a basic right. It is also widely considered to be instrumental in promoting human welfare and social consensus on a broad scale, and to be conducive to and indispensable for fair growth, social stability and economic performance.
Labour migration affects Africa’s economic and social development. Establishing transparent and comprehensive labour migration policies and structures at the national and regional levels can result in significant benefits for states of origin and destination. For countries of origin, for example, remittances, and skills and technology transfers can contribute to overall development objectives (see Subsection Migration and Development [link]). For destination countries labour migration may satisfy important labour market needs. Labour mobility is a component of regional economic integration, which in Africa, is specifically promoted through the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Transnational labour mobility potentially allows for better labour and skills allocation and ultimately enhanced economic performance.
The following specific initiatives of the 2011-2013 Action Plan [link] contribute to the employment goals of the Partnership.
|6: Decent Work Initiative. AUC and EC will jointly launch a project with the objective of extending social protection coverage in particular in the informal economy. The two Commissions will organize an event to allow the exchange of experiences between relevant experts and other key stakeholders including governments, private sector, social partners, civil society and international organisations. Furthermore, the AU Programme on Upgrading the Informal Economy and the Productivity Agenda for Africa will continue to provide support to a multi-level dialogue and policy development on the informal economy (mainstreaming of the informal economy, empowerment and social dialogue, productivity improvement, knowledge and data base management, etc). This dialogue may also involve Asian and Latin American countries.|
|7: Labour market governance and capacity building. This initiative aims at strengthening the institutional capacity of the labour market institutions in Africa, so that they can play effectively their role in the social and economic development in the continent. The initiative will target public employment services and labour administrations. It will aim to harmonise and coordinate labour market information systems (also in connection to the network of Employment and TVET4 Observatories currently implemented in African countries). Support will be provided at national, regional and continental level. The initiative furthermore aims at the mapping of skills required and available at national, regional and continental level, identifying the gaps and working for the improvement of employment opportunities and employability.|
8: Regional and sub-regional fora on employment, labour, social protection and labour migration. In cooperation with RECs, fora will be strengthened to allow organizing consultations on thematic policies of common concern, and to contribute to enhancing the functioning of the labour market, supporting the harmonization processes of the labour and social protection frameworks at regional levels. Furthermore, partners will establish a platform for social dialogue between the African Union and the European Union including an effective representation of all stakeholders, including non-state actors such as representatives of civil society, the private sector, trade unions and parliamentarians, with a particular focus on the informal economy.
|9: Access to finance and guarantees. The European Union and Africa will intensify their cooperation in the area of job creation, building on the 2004 Ouagadougou Declaration and Action Plan on Employment and Poverty Alleviation in Africa. Special attention is devoted to improve the access to financial services for the poorest and underserved, through support of the microfinance sector and through enhancing the small- and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) access to long term finance. |
One such initiative is the progressive development of the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB), Denmark, and Spain. Access to finance and guarantee will be developed taking into account existing guarantee schemes, including at regional level and in close cooperation with other donors as well as with the European Investment Bank (EIB). The potential for co-guaranteeing SME-portfolios in Africa will be systemically explored.
- Assembly of the AU third extraordinary session on Employment and Poverty Alleviation (8-9 September, Ouagadougou):
- AU Declaration on the Implementation of the Global Jobs Pact
- EC 2006 Communication - Promoting decent work for all - The EU contribution to the implementation of the decent work agenda in the world
- EC 2008 Communication - Report on the EU contribution to the promotion of decent work in the world
Other international conventions and declarations:
- UN 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
- Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017)
The text of the 188 International Labour Organisation Conventions is available here.
Core conventions include:
- C29 Forced Labour
- C87 Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize
- C98 Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining
- C100 Equal remuneration
- C105 Abolition of Forced Labour
- C111 Discrimination (Employment and Occupation)
- C138 Minimum Age Convention
- C182 Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour
See also the ILO Decent Work Agenda.