The third day of ITUC-Africa’s New Year School was, like the previous day, marked by several presentations on very pertinent themes for the future of the African trade union movement.
The first presentation on ‘UNCTAD Report: Main issues for African trade unions’ was presented by Hilma Mote. In her presentation, the researcher presented the history of industrialization in Africa and explained the term industrialization and its importance for Africa. The ensuing debates focused on the problems of the agreements reached with the colonisers and on technology in Africa.
The second presentation was made by Kwabena Otoo on the Doha development agenda and its prospects in Africa. He questioned the WTO decisions, the partnership agreements between African countries and WTO and the implementation of WTO policies. The ensuing debates focused on the political role that African trade unions should play and the lack of confidence of Africans in themselves.
Kingsle Ofei-Nkansah also presented a paper on the challenges of the partnership agreements for Africa and the development challenges lying ahead. The presentation on the ‘ACP/EU Economic partnership agreements: Main issues for Africa’ led to a reflection on the need for political will and a change of mentality among Africans.
In the afternoon, Brother Simeon Dossou made a presentation on Social protection in Africa. After briefly defining the concept of social protection, he mentioned the similarities between social protection and social security. He gave the examples of some African countries to buttress his explanations. The participants discussed the impact of the structural adjustment programmes on social protection, the lack of vision among African leaders, the management of the national Social Security Funds where they exist and the mechanisms to put in place to cover all those who are operating in the informal economy. Participants also proposed to the ITUC-Africa to fund research on social protection.
At the end of the day, Raquel Gonzales of ITUC-Geneva also made a presentation on some agenda items of the International Labour Conference as well as of the ILO Governing Body. Her presentation focused mainly on ILO’s role vis-à-vis trade unions. ILO promotes international labour standards, freedom of association, collective bargaining, formal employment and social dialogue.