How Africa can achieve human-centered future of work, according to ILO's DG, Guy Ryder

Guy Ryder, DG, International Labour Organization Director-General and other officials at the ILO Africa Regional Meeting in Abidjan. (Twitter/@ColonjuwonILO)
  • African nations urged to formalise the informal economy, which accounts for 80% of the workforce and ensure that labour is not a commodity.
  • This is part of the Abidjan declarations at the 14th African Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Guy Ryder, Director-General of ILO, urges African countries to seize the opportunities that exist on the continent to advance towards a human-centered future of work.

Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow from 1.06 billion in 2019 to 1.4 billion in 2030, 2.12 billion in 2050 and by 2100, the population of the region will increase to 3.78 billion.

For this to commensurate with a human-centered future of work, Guy Ryder, Director-General of International Labour Organisation, said the continent needs to identify unique potential values for creating renewal energy; and opportunities for development that could be opened up by advances in technology.

Speaking at the opening of the ILO’s 14th African Regional Meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Ryder, urged African countries to seize the opportunities that exist on the continent to advance towards a human-centered future of work.

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%.

“Africa has every reason to regard the future with confidence. Young, rich in resources, dynamic and creative, offers possibilities which in many ways, do not exist in other regions. However, as always, there are challenges.”

The human-centered future of work focuses on social justice as the surest guarantee of having peace and prosperity in African and in the world. It is part of the activities of the 100-year-old organization.

This ‘human-centered’ approach is based on investing in people’s capabilities, the institutions of work that ensure that labour is not a commodity.

During his speech, Ryder focused on the ‘human-centered’ approach outlined in the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work that was adopted at the International Labour Conference (ILC) in June 2019.

He urged Africa to formalise the informal economy, which accounts for 80% of the workforce.

The ILO’s 14th African Regional Meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, brings together the ILO’s tripartite constituents representing governments, workers, and employers from 54 African countries.

Delegates discussed the reports on advancing social justice: shaping the future of work in Africa, with a view to formulating policy recommendations for inclusive growth and social progress.

At the opening session Pascal Abinan, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of labour and social protection was elected President of the 4-day meeting. Paul Mavimba (Zimbabwe) was elected Government Vice-Chair; El Mahfoudh Megateli, (Algeria) was elected Employer Vice-Chair and Francis Atwoli, (Kenya) was elected Worker Vice-Chair.

At the event, stakeholders reviewed the progress made in implementing the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda and charting a course towards a future with decent work in the region.

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