The chairperson of the 13th African Regional Meeting
The Director General of the ILO
Employer Vice – Chairperson
Worker Vice – Chairperson
Ladies and Gentlemen
- It gives me great pleasure to take this opportunity on behalf of the Central Organization of Trade Unions, COTU (K) and my own behalf to congratulate you Mr. Chairperson and your two Vice-Chairpersons for your well-deserved election to steer this 13th African Regional Meeting to its satisfactory end. We have no doubt that your stewardship will be to the excitement of all constituents assembled here.
- COTU (K) takes this opportunity to also most sincerely thank the Director General for availing to us such a concise yet compressive and issues-packed report on the subject Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Development in Africa through Decent Work. This report would not have come at a better time than now when the African Continent’s enormous potential for decent work, creation of Green Jobs and sustainability have taken lead as far as our engagement with the ILO is concerned.
Dear Fellow Delegates
- The sequence of the report is laudable as it provides step-by-step initiatives by the ILO including the key challenges that as a continent we face, the progress made since 2007 and even goes further to cite the vulnerable employment levels evident on the continent as well as the stubbornly high youth unemployment that remains a key factor in emigration pressure. COTU (K) concurswith this observation since youth unemployment in my country now stands at close to 60%.
- COTU (K) applauds the Director General for his affirmation that the ILO remains ready to take up its responsibilities in making Decent Work for Sustainable Development in Africa happen and with this commitment from the ILO, we as constituents equally commit to go out of our way and ensure that as a continent, we remain the main drivers of the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- To this end, COTU (K) wishes to congratulate the ILO for the progress it has made towards achieving other commitments embedded in the Conclusion and Recommendation of the 11th and 12th African Regional meetings and equally let me recognize the roleplayed by the various constituents since were it not for their commitment as well, we couldn’t be celebrating these achievements today.
- Apparently, COTU (K) has noted that similar to the previous factors impeding the achievement of our set targets, financial resources arecitedin prominence and it is important that clear and precise efforts be employed in mobilizing the resources at the local level as noted in the report.
- COTU (K) fully supports the 17-pronged-target segmentation as well as the Director General’s Strategic Recommendations on the way forward particularly the introduction and expansion on the use of the Decent Work Country Profile Scorecard and Matching Sound Policies with effective Implementation Mechanisms as well as Fostering Domestic Resourcing for Sustainable National Decent Work Outcomes through full participation of all social partners.
- However, COTU (K) is concerned that despite the Kenya government being a signatoryand having ratified various ILO instruments,its participation in such meetings has lately been wanting and unless this commitment is evident from the government through its presence in such meetings, then as social partners representing employers and workers we are bound to face difficulties in executing these recommendations.
- COTU (K) applauds H.E. The President Uhuru Kenyatta for the far-reaching changes he has announced in reconstituting his government particularly by dropping all those Cabinet Secretaries cited in various corruption related cases and for his declaration that the country’s corruption level is now a threat to national security, something that COTU (K) had warned the government on as early as 2013.
- We challenge the government to prioritize and strengthen its tripartite engagement with the rest of the social partners in the county.
- COTU (K) believes that with these new appointments, the officers tasked with Industrial Relations in the country will take time to comprehend and understand its dynamics while respecting the relevant ILO pillars duly embedded on tripartism.
- Lastly, COTU (K) calls upon the ILO to be decisive in ensuring that these pillars are respected to the latter by every social partner including governments since it is only through this that our recommendations from such important meetings would be achieved.
- Chairman this being an African regional meeting, please allow me also to caution African governments and their citizens to get over this notion that wealth is in the West. Our young boys and girls are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea allegedly in search of greener pasture when this continent is so endowed that it has every resources one could imagine to end poverty.
- Our governments must embrace home grown solutions to the African problems because it is ourselves who understand where our problems and their solutions lie. There is no way an African problem can have its solution in Washington nor in London like most of our governments want us to believe.
- Equally this continent is home to the most independent and democratic trade union movement because unlike in the West, our trade unions depend entirely on their membership subscriptions unlike in Europe where trade unions are always competing with the civil society to attract funding from the state and this often comprises their position.
I thank you
Francis Atwoli, EBS, MBS