The fourth meeting of conference of Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) ministers of public service has ended on Friday at the Lagoonda Complex, Aberdeen in Freetown.
The theme of the conference was “Integrating Employment and Decent Work Agenda in Governance and Public Service Delivery”, and was aimed at enthroning the values of professionalism and ethics in the public service, with the view to ensuring that the provisions of the charter for public in Africa regarding the fundamental principles, code of conduct for public service employees are adhered to.
In her introductory remarks the acting Director Department of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, Henrietta U Didigu said the fourth conference was organized within the framework of the commission’s duty of raising awareness, encouraging compliance and facilitating the implementation by the practitioners in our member states public service sector, of the provisions of the Charter for Public service in Africa.
She added that the issue of job creation continued to pose a challenge for most member states of the region.
Mrs. Didigu noted that while our economies were performing better in recent years, the rate of growth in our economies still fell far short of the expectations required to stem the tide of unemployment.
The forum, she said, provided a forum for sharing experience and evolving measures to address this very important challenge.
The acting Director recalled that, “the summit of the African Head of States of Government held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 2004 on job creation and poverty alleviation, provided the necessary impetus for addressing human capital development challenges”.
She maintained that the fundamental objective of the plan of action adopted by the African leaders was to reverse the current trends of pervasive and persistent poverty, unemployment and underemployment in the living standards of the people and their families at the national and community levels.
African employment crises which manifested as poverty crises had affected over 400 million Africans with the rate of increase uniquely high compared to the increase in other world regimes, said Mrs. Didigu.
She intimated that unemployment was now a key challenge which must be addressed in order to deepen our regional integration process, noting that in spite of paucity of employment and unemployment data, reasonable proxies exist to point to a growing massive employment crisis. In his keynote address the minister of Presidential and Public Affairs Alhaji Alpha Kanu said that, “the issues of employment creation, decent work agenda, good governance and public service delivery are of concern practically to every state in the world because they underpin the stability, progress and unity of the state”. He added that pressure to create job and provide a decent working environment for the population was however particularly severe in developing countries because of the shortage of opportunities. Mr Kanu pointed out that Income insecurity resulting from lack of access to gainful employment was a common concern for all social groups and was one of the most important sources of social vulnerability. The presidential spokesman remarked that it was therefore very important for states to provide jobs for their citizens as well as the environment to enable them work in safety and comfort. The primary policy challenge for our government, he stated, was to be able to provide access to decent, safe and productive work to the very large number of our unemployed, underemployed and working poor. He accentuated that the top priority of the work agenda was therefore to place the creation of employment at the national strategies and policies, to expand work opportunities and to increase productivity.