Namibia to host AU session on labor and social affairs

WINDHOEK: Namibia will host the Special Session of the African Union (AU) Labour and Social Affairs’ Commission on the Ouagadougou Declaration and Plan of Action on Employment Promotion and Poverty Alleviation later this month.

Labour and Social Welfare Minister Doreen Sioka made this announcement in the National Assembly on Monday.

The event is slated for 21 to 25 April, and will be attended by approximately 400 delegates from 54 AU member states.

The Special Session of the AU Labour and Social Affairs’ Commission will be held to prepare the ground for an Extraordinary Summit of Heads of States and Government in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in September 2014.

According to the AU website, the Special Session takes place during the year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU, which commenced in 2013, and during which an African Agenda for the next 50 years is being developed (African Agenda 2063).

“The Special Session also convenes at a time when the international community is engaged in defining the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Hence, the Special Session could draw from a wealth of contemporary thoughts and information to enrich its outcomes, particularly as it relates to human capital development, job-creation, social protection and inclusive development,” reads the AU website.

According to the AU, employment is recognised as a pathway to exiting poverty.

The continent is still hampered with a huge concentration of the majority of the workforce in the informal economy and rural sector, which have low social protection coverage, if any, as well as low productivity and low income-generation power.

Despite progress noted, Africa also remains the least-productive region in the world.

“Ten years after Ouagadougou 2004 and considering its achievements and drawbacks, AU leaders are determined to accelerate job-creation on the continent, in particular for youth and women.

They have, therefore, decided to undertake a comprehensive assessment of 10 years of implementation so as to take stock of achievements and challenges faced, as well as concrete actions to be taken in the next decade to create decent employment and accelerate poverty eradication in order to ensure inclusive development,” it added.