ILO partners with the African Union to spearhead transformative macroeconomic policy framework for employment generation in Africa

The International Labour Organization (ILO) in partnership with the International Training Centre, Turin conducted a capacity development and planning workshop on pro-employment macroeconomic and sectoral policies for African Union (AU) member states. The training was in response to the widening decent work deficits and growing inequalities that threaten achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Africa.

Press release | 11 December 2023
Participants of a capacity development and planning workshop on pro-employment macroeconomic and sectoral policies for AU member states
(ILO News – Kenya) The ILO, in collaboration with the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITC-ILO), organized a capacity development and planning workshop on pro-employment macroeconomic and sectoral policies for AU member states geared towards advancing social justice, decent work, and sustainable development in Africa. The one-week workshop took place in Nairobi between Monday 13th November and Friday 17th November.

Africa has experienced a relatively strong economic growth since 2002. However, this growth coincided with only modest improvements in the labour market. It meant that employment growth was not sufficient to absorb the fast-growing unemployment in most countries. The employment problem in Africa can only be comprehensively addressed by reassessing how we think about the macroeconomic picture and combining macroeconomic, labour markets, and sectoral policies within an integrated employment policy framework.

The ILO recognizes the widening decent work deficits globally and in Africa: "These decent work deficits are widening in many countries, fuelling inequalities, undermining social cohesion and the foundations of peace and stability, and hence putting social justice under further strain. The growing inequalities threaten achievement of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development," Director a.i of ILO Country Office Dar Es Salaam Jealous Chirove.

The 14th African Regional Meeting of ILO, held in Abidjan in December 2019, adopted the Declaration Advancing Social Justice: Shaping the future of work in Africa (the Abidjan Declaration). The workshop which was part of the AU-ILO joint operational plan was informed by the statements of the Abidjan Declaration, Agenda 2030, and Agenda 2063, which read: “Comprehensive Employment Policies, including pro-employment macroeconomic and sectoral policies for structural transformation, are promoted and strengthened to promote decent employment for women and youth.” Based on this, ILO has been supporting the AU and its Members and regional constituents in developing such an alternative, pro-employment macroeconomic framework through several research and policy outputs, as well as respective capacity development training.

Through the training, ITC-ILO sought to extend technical support to strengthen the capacities of policymakers and social partners from selected African pilot countries. By way of collaborative group work, participants assessed their countries' employment policy status, iteratively developing comprehensive reports and plans for creating job-rich growth environments. The workshop brought together high-level officials from AU and ILO, as well as government experts from 10 selected pilot countries. The government experts comprised of senior officials from ministries responsible for economy, finance, planning, labour and employment, and industry, trade, and commerce.

Highlighting the significance of the workshop, AU Policy Officer Dr Patrick Olomo remarked, "The workshop provides a unique opportunity to discuss critical issues and opportunities relating to growth, jobs, and economic transformation. Coordinated policies can be of critical importance towards an integrated and coherent approach to the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of Agenda 2063 and the sustainable development goals through pro-employment macro-economic policies."

He further shared that the AU valued collaboration with the ILO in support of continental pro-employment macroeconomic policies and calls for an inclusive process involving other pan-African institutions.

“The workshop seeks to establish a more accurate understanding of how macro policy decisions, aiming at boosting the economy, would improve the labour market under different circumstances. This is particularly relevant in our current context in which countries aspire towards moving out of the unprecedented job crisis and achieve job-rich and inclusive recovery.” Added Director of ILO Country Office Addis Ababa Alexio Musindo.

The ILO aims to increase multilateral cooperation and partnerships, pursuing the overarching objective of advancing social justice and decent work globally. This involves creating a collaborative space for governments, employers, workers' organizations, UN agencies, enterprises, and academia to shape opportunities for social justice. The partnerships also create a platform to generate increased political commitments, investments, policy coherence, multilateral cooperation, and partnerships, fostering concrete actions towards social justice and decent work, aligned with national priorities.

This collaborative initiative between the ILO and AU stands as a beacon for proactive, collective action to address employment challenges in Africa. By establishing and implementing pro-employment macroeconomic policy frameworks, these pilot countries shall pave the way for sustainable economic growth and serve as inspirations for the continent. The capacity development workshop was a pivotal step towards realizing this vision.