More than 50 African ministers of labour or employment, along with representatives of workers’ and employers’ organizations and international organizations joined the International Labour Organization (www.ILO.org) Regional Office for Africa on Thursday, 2 July for a virtual forum to discuss how to address the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
The pandemic has devastated the world of work, causing massive human suffering and exposing the extreme vulnerability of millions of workers and enterprises on the continent and around the globe. In Africa, those vulnerabilities are particularly stark, with high levels of poverty, informality, youth unemployment and child labour, and widespread disparity in which many lack social protection.
The Africa regional event was one of five regional events held from 1–2 July, and will be followed by three days of global discussions, from 7–9 July. Participants discussed how Africa’s world of work can build back better in the post-pandemic recovery.
“Building back better means that we must fully use the opportunity provided by the pandemic to ensure that ‘there is renewed vigour and urgency to address the underlying labour market crises’ and ‘no one is left behind,’” Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa, said in her that- “It is a call to make social protection for all a key national development goal! It means envisioning the informal economy as a critical asset; supported to create decent jobs and become engines of economic growth and sustainable development.”