Uganda elected to head African Union Social Development Committee
Uganda has been elected as the new Bureau of the African Union (AU) Specialized Committee on Social Development, Labor and Employment, a position that gives the country a higher profile in handling sectoral affairs within the African Organ.
The term of office is two years.
The Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Development, Hon. Amongi Betty Ongom, on behalf of Uganda, took the seat on Thursday during the 4th ordinary session of the committee held at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The committee, which reports directly to the Executive Council of the AU, is responsible for promoting and developing cooperation among African countries in the area of social protection, labour, employment, productivity and the reduction of poverty.
It also reviews and harmonizes policies and legislation of Member States and coordinates common African positions to advance African interests, promote tripartism and freedom of association, collective bargaining and decent work.
The Committee further reviews and assesses the progress made by Member States and Regional Economic Communities in implementing the various instruments and policies that advance social protection.
In his inaugural address, Hon. Amongi called for a critical examination of the sectors that have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and how African economies can achieve post-COVID-19 recovery by focusing on social development, labor and employment.
“Unless we do more to establish safety nets in the form of social protection, social security and economic stimulus packages, among others, to build resilience by establishing buffer mechanisms, our economies will be hard hit by downsizing,” noted the minister.
She added that unless addressed and corrected, Africa’s large informal economies would suffer significant job losses in specific sectors like tourism, creatives and hospitality due to their inherent fragility.
“Furthermore, exports and imports will decline, affecting the potential for trade to support the growth process, thus affecting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). As you know, currently, the continent is already struggling with underemployment and unemployment. She watched.
“It is clear that if we do not undertake the above interventions to address the identified challenges, there is a likelihood of increased rates of crime, insecurity and instability on the continent.” She says.
She called for social dialogue at all levels as a key tool to develop and implement sustainable solutions tailored to the unique realities of social development, labor and employment.
Hon. Amongi stressed the importance of the tripartite structure – government officials, – employers and – workers – as a key driver of strong partnerships.
She congratulated the outgoing Bureau of the Committee and requested support from the Ugandan Bureau.
She also congratulated the next Director General of the International Labor Organization (ILO), Mr. Gilbert Houngbo of Togo, who will take office in October 2022. He will become the first African to lead the organization since its creation. 103 years ago.
The Minister was accompanied to Ethiopia by the Commissioner for Equity and Rights of the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, Mr. Mujuni Bernard and the Deputy Commissioner for Employment Services, Mr. Milton Turyasiima.
The meeting was held under the theme: “Building better well-being and a better standard of living in Africa”.