23 Apr 2014 16:20pm
WINDHOEK, 23 APR (NAMPA) - Unemployment and under-employment are at high levels and lead to significant abject poverty on the African continent, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Doreen Sioka said on Wednesday.
Speaking during the official opening of the Experts' Meeting on the Special Session of the African Union (AU)s Labour and Social Affairs Commission underway here, Sioka said a particular challenge for Africa is the persistent under-employment phenomenon, which registers above 75 per cent in many AU member states.
We must provide justice to this situation in our policies, using the legal institutional mechanisms of the labour market in particular, she stated.
Eradicating under-employment will thus lead to a significant impact on poverty eradication, and improving inclusive development.
We cannot continue leaving the large majority of workers outside of the labour market system, and we need to be creative and innovative to engage these under-employed workers, she noted.
Ten years down the line after the adoption of the 2004 Ouagadougou Declaration and Plan of Action on Employment Promotion and Poverty-Alleviation, the AU member states are gathering in Windhoek for two days to assess progress on the implementation of these policy instruments, and to define new policies for the next 10 years.
The outcome of the meeting will be of paramount importance to feed the Post-2015 Development Agenda, as well as the AUs Agenda 2063.
Sioka then touched on the achievements AU member states recorded in the past 10 years, which include steady efforts in producing biennial reports, as well as comprehensive follow-up reports.
I wish to underline this as a good practice which fills a longstanding gap on employment policy monitoring and evaluation, she added.
AU member States were also able to improve the institutional capacity on labour market information, employment policy formulation as well as political leadership and employment policy funding, amongst others.
Sioka further indicated that the regional economic communities have also intensified their work towards the integration of their labour markets through various interventions, such as the harmonisation and coordination of the labour and social security legal frameworks and the adoption of the regional labour migration policy framework.
The special session ends on Thursday, and will be followed by an AU meeting of ministers, which is set to be opened by President Hifikepunye Pohamba on Friday.