The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has declared that the African continent needed to create twenty-six million jobs every year to meet the objectives of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Director General, International Labour Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder, gave this verdict, as he called on African countries to seize the opportunities that exist on the continent to advance towards a human-centred future of work.
Ryder was speaking at the opening of the ILO’s 14th African Regional Meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, which brings together the ILO’s tripartite constituents representing governments, workers and employers from 54 African countries.
The ILO’s 14th African regional meeting is targeted at reviewing the progress made in implementing the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda and charting a course towards a future with decent work in the region.
In his address, Ryder referred to projections for economic growth in Africa that are higher than the global average; a “demographic dividend” that will see labour force numbers rising to 60 per cent; the continent’s unique potential for creating renewable energy; and opportunities for development that could be opened up by advances in technology.
He said: “Africa has every reason to regard the future with confidence. Young, rich in resources, dynamic and creative, it offers possibilities which in many ways, do not exist in other regions. However, as always, there are challenges.”
The challenges, according to the ILO director general, is the need to create 26 million jobs every year in Africa to meet the objectives of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Other challenges, he said, include a social protection financing gap amounting to $68 billion a year; economic, social and migratory pressures; and the impact of climate change and globalization.
“What we seek is a future of work with social justice as the surest guarantee we can have of peace and prosperity in African and in the world. This is the unfinished business of our 100 year old Organization which we must take forward together.” He added.
While delivering his speech, Ryder focused on the ‘human-centred’ approach outlined in the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work that was adopted at the International Labour Conference (ILC) in June 2019.
This “human-centred” approach is based on investing in people’s capabilities, the institutions of work that ensure that labour is not a commodity, and in decent and sustainable work, particularly in the green, rural and health care economies.