The African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) in collaboration with the association Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) opened this morning, April 22 in Lome, in the premises of the ITUC-Africa a second workshop on "youth policy" .
At the opening of this workshop, the General Secretary of ITUC-Africa, Comrade Kwasi ADU-AMANKWAH recalled the critical situation through which the youth is going. A situation characterized by a high unemployment rate, the brain drain and the incessant crises experienced by our world today. He insisted that we should pay particular attention to young people to ensure the survival of the labor movement. Before thanking the FES for its support, the Secretary-General also said that the challenge was thrown to the youth and it is their responsability to deal with these unfortunate situations and find solutions.
The representative of FES, Mr Constantin GRUND, in his opening remarks, stressed on the need for unions to strengthen cooperation with regional and international organizations. He also stressed the problem of youth unemployment and the importance of developing youth policies that will guide in the development of central policies.
This workshop brings together political leaders and youth coordinators of six selected trade union centers to discuss relevant issues that young people face and to consider future prospects for the development of central policies.
The youth crisis, which gained momentum in the wake of the global financial crisis, is still raging after six years.
In Africa, the rate of youth unemployment remains incredibly high. The average age of the African population is 19 years, while 70% of the continent’s population is under 70. Approximately 60% of the continent unemployed are aged 15 to 24 years. Globalization, the market economy and neo-liberalism, mass migration, the introduction of information technology and labor market reforms in some countries have brought very significant changes in the workplace.
However, some young people who engage in union activities are facing several challenges including their low representation in decision-making bodies, low youth participation in union activities and the lack of information on unionism.
Given these challenges, ITUC-Africa, with the support of FES, began to develop youth policies with affiliated centers. The pilot project, which started in 2012, brought together seven affiliated organizations across the continent.
During the three-day meeting, participants will share their experiences, discuss youth policies already developed, and reach an agreement on the steps and the time development of these policies in selected countries.