Interregional Knowledge and Experience Sharing Forum on Labour, Employment and Labour Migration Concluded

Forum aims at promoting South to South Cooperation and foster inter-regional coordination, on thematic areas of labour migration and child labour.

News | 31 January 2024
Participants from over 18 countries in East and South Africa with Ms Fanfan Rwanyindo Kayirangwa, ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa during the opening of the forum
The International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the African Union organized an inter-regional knowledge and experience sharing forum on labour, employment and labour migration governance in East and South Africa, 5-7 December 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The forum, which aimed at promoting South to South Cooperation and foster inter-regional coordination, on thematic areas of labour migration and child labour, saw the participation of 39 representatives from over 18 countries from Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD), South African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC) regions.

Recognizing the importance of dialogue and peer-learning for enhanced inter-regional cooperation and collaboration, the forum facilitated discussions to enable participants to take stock of lesson, challenges, opportunities, and good practices to advance decent work at regional level particularly in relation to labour migration governance and the elimination of child labour.

“The ILO recognizes the importance of South-South Cooperation as a key modality for promoting decent work which is at the heart of achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We understand south-South Cooperation guided by principles of solidarity, mutual benefit, and peer learning, fostering cooperation among developing countries based on respect for national sovereignty, equality, non-conditionality, and mutual benefit is crucial for advancing decent work and social justice,” said Ms Fanfan Rwanyindo Kayirangwa, ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa in the opening of the meeting.

Representing International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)- Africa, Mr. Guy Hunt, said, “Ensuring right at the workplace and social dialogue are crucial to ensure decent work for migrant workers. We need to have more dialogue at sub-regional level to promote cross-fertilization of ideas while also pushing for inter-regional dialogue which is tripartite in nature for protection of rights of migrant workers.”
“Decent work goes beyond just ensuring employment. It is about ensuring social protection, productive employment and rights of workers”, said Mr. Patrick Ajuna, representing International Organization of Employers at also speaking at the opening emphasizing that decent work goes hand in hand with productivity and workers’ rights.

Welcoming the participants and wishing a productive discussion, the State Minister of Ministry of Labour and Skills, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Dr Asegid Getachew, emphasized the need of collective action. “While efforts at the national level are significant, it is also important for us to come together as nations of the African continent to work on scaling up efforts to build an integrated economic community and promote collective development while ensuring that human and labour rights of all workers are protected”, he said.
Participants of the forum deliberated on improving labour market and labour migration statistics, adopting a gender-transformative approach to labour migration, ensuring fair recruitment and decent work for migrant workers through continental frameworks and elimination of child and forced labour, particularly in the agricultural sector. Through interactive discussions, representatives of member states and social partners shared good practices and experience under the thematic areas.
Throughout the forum, participants underscored the need for more tripartite sub-regional, regional and inter regional dialogue to navigate the complex issues of the world of work and to realize the visions for an “Africa We Want” where there is sustainable economic growth through productive employment in a peaceful environment was underlined by participants in forum.

Emphasizing on the need for sustained regular dialogue at various levels, Mr. Alexio Musindo, Director of the ILO Country Office for Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia and Special Representative to AU and ECA noted that, “this dialogue is just the beginning of many more engagements and something the ILO, African Union, RECs and Social partners will build on to advance regional and inter regional dialogue and cooperation to advance decent work and social justice in the world of work”.

This meeting was supported by the Labour, Employment and Mobility Actions of the AU-ILO-IOM Programme on Labour Migration Governance for Development and Integration in Africa i.e. Joint Labour Migration Programme (JLMP-Lead) funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the ILO South-South Cooperation.