Representatives from 49 African countries have issued a call for a human-centered approach to the future of work, to unleash Africa’s potential for inclusive growth and create a future of work with social justice.

The Abidjan Declaration, entitled Advancing Social Justice: Shaping the future of work in Africa, was issued by delegates representing governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, attending the 14th African Regional Meeting (AFRM) of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Specifically, the declaration calls for the shaping of an African Decent Work Agenda, with a focus on five core priorities. They are:

  • Making decent work a reality for Africa’s youth, developing skills, technological pathways and productivity for a brighter future in Africa, transforming the informal and rural economy for decent work, respecting international labour standards, promoting social dialogue and gender equality.
  • Strengthening the capacities of all people to benefit from the opportunities of a changing world of work.
  • Strengthening the efficiency of the institutions of work to ensure adequate protection of all workers.
  • Promoting inclusive and sustainable economic development and growth, full and productive freely chosen employment and decent work for all.
  • Strengthening synergies between the ILO and institutions in Africa.

The Declaration also called for investment in education and training, tackling gender inequality and discrimination, ensuring rights for youth, extending social protection, supporting the private sector, in creating economic growth and jobs, promoting productivity and technological pathways for decent work, as well as entrepreneurship and social dialogue (including cross-border), among others.

Welcoming the adoption of the Declaration, the ILO’s Director-General, Guy Ryder, told delegates that it provides “the road map to guide our efforts in the years ahead.”

He pointed to its strong alignment to the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, “with its insistence on the need to invest in strengthening the capacities of people; in the institutions of work; and in inclusive and sustainable development and growth, full and productive freely chosen employment and decent work for all”.

Ryder added that the Meeting had fulfilled its fundamental purpose by “translating the ILO’s Centenary Future of Work Initiative and Declaration into the realities of Africa and providing the necessary guidance for its operationalisation”.

He also spoke of the challenges facing Africa in the future of work, and said he was confident that they could be overcome through a strong tripartite commitment to the principles and values that the Organization has adhered to over the past 100 years.


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