African members of the ILO Governing Body that gathered in Addis Ababa noted that despite the strong economic performance, Africa needs a new policy shift to further fuel its transformation, job creation potential and social development.
“Creation of employment and decent work that brings about increased productivity and competitiveness has received a considerable attention and remained a policy priority of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia as revealed by different developmental government policies and strategies,” Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Abdulfatah Abdullahi said in an opening address. Abdulfatah made the remark at the opening ceremony of the first Information Seminar for African members of the ILO Governing Body organized at the UN Conference Centre in Addis Ababa.
ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa Aeneas Chapinga Chuma said Africa needs a new policy paradigm that focuses on more job creation, youth employment, social protection, encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises and labour migration governance, high levels of unemployment and increasing inequalities.
“The creation of employment and decent work which brings about increased productivity and competitiveness remains a key priority in all our development efforts, and in fact, one could argue, it underpins all other development priorities. Over the last decade, Africa has recorded impressive and reasonably sustained macro-economic growth rates,” said Abdulfatah Abdullahi, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs in his opening remarks.
Ethiopia has formulated a Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) that aims at accelerating sustainable development and creating jobs.
Abdulfatah said that during the GTP implementation period, significant results were registered particularly in the infrastructure development, human development and good governance. The three main sectors (agriculture, industry and service) grew rapidly and contributed to the overall economic growth. The industrial sector is growing faster than both agriculture and services. The sector on average grew at 16.9 percent per annum since 2011, becoming the fastest growth rate compared with that registered by agriculture and service sector.
Ethiopia has the second largest population in Africa with 90 million people. 65 percent of its population falls in the youth age bracket making the country to have a very young population. “The creation of employment and decent work that brings about increased productivity and competitiveness remains a policy priority of Ethiopia,” stressed Abdulfatah.
“African countries need a more efficient, job-intensive growth pattern. We cannot measure our success by growth alone. Employment creation must be a recognized target of macroeconomic policies”, said Aeneas Chapinga Chuma.
ILOs overall engagement in Africa and the roles of member states in the governing body were two points that were of interest to more than 40 members attending the two and half days seminar that brought together all members for the first time.
It was stated that African economies, on average, showed relatively robust economic fundamentals in terms of stable currencies, single digit inflation rates, and reasonable reserve positions, often bolstered by significant remittances whose aggregate now exceeds Official Development Assistance. Despite some challenges, on average, African economies were reasonably resilient to the financial and economic crisis in the latter part of the decade whose consequences are still with us to this day.