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Unemployment is root cause of poverty — ILO

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The Executive Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Employment Sector, Jose Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, has observed that governments that put employment at the centre of the growth strategies were more likely to achieve better results in terms of growth, job creation and poverty reduction.

“Globally, unemployment and underemployment particularly among young people are widely recognised as one of the causes of poverty and national instability, “Mr Salazar-Xirinachs told labour based practitioners attending the 14th ILO Regional Seminar in Accra.

What started as a seminar organised by the ILO to review current practices at the time in Mbeya, Tanzania in 1990, followed by another one in Lesotho in 1992, initially attended by two dozen experts and practitioners from a handful of countries, has grown into these events with nearly 500 participants from 30 countries, has now increasinged including representatives from Asia and Latin America.

The Accra conference which saw Uganda Minister of State for Works, John Byabagambi, host of the previous conference, handing over the mantle of leadership of the conference to Ghana’s Minister of Roads and Highways, Joe Gidisu, would see participants made up of policy makers, researchers and academics from all over the world discuss and share ideas and experiences on labour technologies and employment intensive policies and practices.

“Employment is the route out of poverty and a foundation for peaceful co-existence. I believe it is with this shared objectives and mindset that all of you; decision makers, practitioners and development partners are sitting here together to discuss the challenges and draw an action plan,”Mr Salazar-Xirinachs told the seminar participants who are also expected to review the progress of work since Kampala 2009.

He said the economic crisis is today still very much with us with renewed threat of double dip recession and continued negative consequences for the economies of Africa and other developing countries.

Mr Salazar-Xirinachs said as a result of the financial and economic crisis, African countries lost significant amount of investment “and all of these exacerbated the fire situation of labour markets characterised by high unemployment and underemployment, insufficient creation of formal sector jobs, large informal economies with low productivity and low incomes and widespread poverty.”

The Executive Director of ILO Employment Sector, noted that the global community decided to tackle unemployment through the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by adding MDG1B which was to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.

He said there was no doubt that labour intensive investments in infrastructure was one of the major tools in the policy makers toolkit with the triple win possibilities because not only do they create much needed infrastructure that boost productivity, but they create more jobs that boost income and aggregate demand.

Source: Ghanaian Times

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