New database for Labour Market Information System in ECOWAS Region

The ILO seeks to improve labour market information systems and the coordination of the public employment services database for ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania.

Press release | 13 April 2015
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has pledged to support to develop and harmonize the Labour Market Information System (LMIS) and public employment service databases of Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Mauritania.

The announcement was made by the Director of ILO Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Gambia, Mrs. Sina Chuma-Mkandawire at ECOWAS Commission Headquarters in Abuja during a two-day workshop held from 8-9 April and organized by the ILO.

“The availability of reliable information on labour market and a functioning regionally-linked public employment service bureau are prerequisites for effective labour mobility”, stated Mrs Sina Chuma-Mkandawire underlying that as a result, “improved comprehension of the labour market will contribute to a better access to employment information and migration at both national and regional levels”.

The objective of the workshop which is under the EU-funded project “Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa” was to present key findings of two studies on LMIS for validation. The two studies include Development of a Labour Market Information System and Establishment of a sub-regional Public Employment Services database in ECOWAS region.

The specific goals of the study on the development of a Labour Market Information System were:
  • To identify existing Labour Market Information Systems, along with the potential source for LMIS in ECOWAS Member States;
  • To assess the African Union LMIS tools and methodology and how they can be adapted by the ECOWAS Commission;
  • To detect the main constraints, challenges and strengths of the establishment of a LMIS in the region
  • To propose a sub-regional ECOWAS Labour Market Information System which should include the architecture of the LMIS, its contents, key priority indicators, tools for collecting data, institutional arrangements, activities and responsibilities at national and regional levels and modalities for its implementation.
The study Establishment of a Sub-Regional Public Employment Services Database in ECOWAS Region has the following specific objectives:
  • To assess the implementation of relevant policy tolls implemented in four ECOWAS Member states;
  • To propose a network of Public Employment services at regional level
  • The implementation of LMIS will make reliable and relevant information available on a timely basis, and allow the formulation of suitable employment and training policies, and provide policy makers with tools to help them make informed decisions, according to the ILO.
Ms Chuma-Mkandawire also emphasized that Public Employment services play an important role for the creation of employment database by connecting jobseekers with employers and helping match supply and demand on the labour market through information, placement and active support services at local, national and regional levels.

Enhancing labour mobility

Effective public employment services (PES) database (complimentary to a Labour Market Information System) can play a key role in enhancing labour mobility and improving labour market outcomes more broadly, the Director underscored.

Moreover, the African Union Commission (AUC) called on “international partners to craft their support to ECOWAS in a way that achieve concrete outputs which will significantly contribute to positive transformation of the situation of labour migration management in the region”.

Ambassador Abdou Abarry, AU Liaison Office to ECOWAS stated that AU was eager to work with ECOWAS authorities through the Intra-African Technical Cooperation Platform in order to share experience and “expertise of ECOWAS advanced Member States, with the other regions in need of improving their labour migration management”, adding that the “modalities for such collaboration could be considered along the AUC-ILO-IOM-ECA Joint Programme on Labour Migration”.

He urged ECOWAS Member-States, Regional Economic Communities and African Union Commission to play their respective roles as identified in his paper entitled “African Union Labour Market Information System Coordination and Harmonization Framework LMIS/CHF”.

Ambassador Abarry called on ECOWAS to expand the scope of Labour Migration Statistics and data to remittances, when implementing the AU LMIS-HCF and its regional framework.

The Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs Directorate of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Daniel Eklu, stressed on the importance of the availability of accurate information on the labour market.

Accurate information and data help facilitate the planning of activities, monitoring and evaluation of national development plans and formulation of policies and strategies on education, employment and migration which are in line with countries’ realities and needs, Eklu explained.

“The labour market information system to be established at the ECOWAS level should contribute to acquiring and facilitating the mobilization of qualified and appropriate human capital on the different labour markets of ECOWAS member states. It should also contribute to generating estimates and trends for the development of the labour markets including migration in the region”, the ECOWAS representative concluded.